Evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids are important for a variety of mental health outcomes and have been shown to improve both mood and behaviors.
However, there is little consensus on whether omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for reducing aggressive behaviors. The current study assesses the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and aggression. A total of 73 effect sizes were calculated among 40 studies involving 7173 participants from both intervention and observational research designs.
Effect sizes were separately meta-analyzed for two-group comparison studies (SMD = 0.20), pre-post contrast studies (ES<inf>sg</inf> = 0.62), and associational studies (r = -0.06), in the fixed-effect model. Results from the random-effects model also suggest a range of effects of omega-3 fatty acids on reducing aggression (SMD = 0.24; ES<inf>sg</inf> = 0.82; r = -0.09).
Patterns in the relationship between omega-3s and aggression were additionally observed. Moderator analyses indicated that the effect of omega-3s on aggression is conditioned by how aggressive behaviors are measured, such as through self-report or parent/teacher surveys.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd
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