Low glucose relates to greater aggression in married couples

Brad J. Bushman, C. Nathan DeWall, Richard S. Pond, Michael D. Hanus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Intimate partner violence affects millions of people globally. One possible contributing factor is poor self-control. Self-control requires energy, part of which is provided by glucose. For 21 days, glucose levels were measured in 107 married couples. To measure aggressive impulses, each evening participants stuck between 0 and 51 pins into a voodoo doll that represented their spouse, depending how angry they were with their spouse. To measure aggression, participants competed against their spouse on a 25- trial task in which the winner blasted the loser with loud noise through headphones. As expected, the lower the level of glucose in the blood, the greater number of pins participants stuck into the voodoo doll, and the higher intensity and longer duration of noise participants set for their spouse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6254-6257
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 29 2014


  • Ego-depletion
  • Hangry
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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