Childhood Hunger Linked to Impulsiveness and Violence
New Study Shows Low Self-Control and Interpersonal Violence as Side Effects of Childhood Hunger
People who experienced frequent hunger during childhood are more than twice as likely to exhibit impulsivity and engage in violent acts as adolescents and adults, according to a new study at the University of Texas at Dallas, reports PsychCentral.
Earlier research had shown that childhood hunger contributes to a variety of other negative outcomes, including poor academic performance. However, this is one of the first studies to establish a correlation between childhood hunger, low self-control, and interpersonal violence.
For the study, researchers analyzed data to look for any links between childhood hunger and impulsivity or interpersonal violence. Participants answered several questions, including how often they went hungry as a child, whether they have problems controlling their temper, and if they have ever physically injured another person on purpose.
The findings show that 37 percent of the participants who experienced frequent hunger during childhood report they have been involved in interpersonal violence. Of those who experienced little to no childhood hunger, 15 percent said they were involved in interpersonal violence. The findings were strongest among whites, Hispanics, and males.
More than 15 million U.S. children face food insecurity—not having regular access to adequate nutrition, according to the study.