Food and Behaviour Research

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Effects of nutritional supplements on aggression, rule-breaking, and psychopathology among young adult prisoners

Zaalberg A, Nijman H, Bulten E, Stroosma L, van der Staak C (2010) Aggressive Behavior Volume 36, Issue 2 117 - 126 Wiley InterScience

Web URL: View this extract via Wiley Interscience here

Abstract:

Objective: In an earlier study, improvement of dietary status with food supplements led to a reduction in antisocial behavior among prisoners. Based on these earlier findings, a study of the effects of food supplements on aggression, rule-breaking, and psychopathology was conducted among young Dutch prisoners.

Methods: Two hundred and twenty-one young adult prisoners (mean age=21.0, range 18-25 years) received nutritional supplements containing vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids or placebos, over a period of 1-3 months.

Results: As in the earlier (British) study, reported incidents were significantly reduced (P=.017, one-tailed) in the active condition (n=115), as compared with placebo (n=106). Other assessments, however, revealed no significant reductions in aggressiveness or psychiatric symptoms.

Conclusion: As the incidents reported concerned aggressive and rule-breaking behavior as observed by the prison staff, the results are considered to be promising. However, as no significant improvements were found in a number of other (self-reported) outcome measures, the results should be interpreted with caution.

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