Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Association of height and violent criminality: results from a Swedish total population study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.
Show others and affiliations
Number of Authors: 5
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Epidemiology, ISSN 0300-5771, E-ISSN 1464-3685, Vol. 43, no 3, 835-842 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Violent criminality is at least moderately heritable, but the mechanisms behind this remain largely unexplained. Height, a highly heritable trait, may be involved but no study has estimated the effect of height on crime while simultaneously accounting for important demographic, biological and other heritable confounders. Methods: We linked nationwide, longitudinal registers for 760 000 men who underwent mandatory military conscription from 1980 through 1992 in Sweden, to assess the association between height and being convicted of a violent crime. We used Cox proportional hazard modelling and controlled for three types of potential confounders: physical characteristics, childhood demographics and general cognitive ability (intelligence). Results: In unadjusted analyses, height had a moderate negative relationship to violent crime; the shortest of men were twice as likely to be convicted of a violent crime as the tallest. However, when simultaneously controlling for all measured confounders, height was weakly and positively related to violent crime. Intelligence had the individually strongest mitigating effect on the height-crime relationship. Conclusions: Although shorter stature was associated with increased risk of violent offending, our analyses strongly suggested that this relationship was explained by intelligence and other confounding factors. Hence, it is unlikely that height, a highly heritable physical characteristic, accounts for much of the unexplained heritability of violent criminality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 43, no 3, 835-842 p.
Keyword [en]
Violence, body height, stature
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Sociology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106427DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyt274ISI: 000338127000027OAI: diva2:736327


Available from: 2014-08-06 Created: 2014-08-04 Last updated: 2015-03-11Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Beckley, Amber L.
By organisation
Department of Criminology
In the same journal
International Journal of Epidemiology
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and EpidemiologySociology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 112 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link