Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Angry at Your Spouse? When Did You Last Eat?

By Magdeline Lum

Lower levels of blood sugar make us more likely to lash out, and the people we lash out at are often those we hold closest to our hearts.

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A study from Ohio State University has found that lower levels of blood sugar makes married people angrier at their spouse and are more likely to lash out aggressively. The good news is that blood glucose levels can be increased quickly by eating carbohydrates or sugary foods.

The 3-year study involved 107 married couples. Their general satisfaction for their relationship was assessed using a survey that asked each spouse how much they agreed with statements like “I feel satisfied with our relationship”. Over 21 days, each couple monitored their blood glucose levels in the morning and evening.

The couples were also given a voodoo doll each with 51 pins. Each spouse was instructed to stick the pins in the doll to represent their level of anger towards their partner. This activity was done away from the presence of their spouse.

The lower the participants’ evening blood glucose levels, the more pins they stuck in the voodoo doll representing their spouse. This association was present even after the researchers took into account the couples’ relationship satisfaction.

“When they had lower blood glucose, they felt angrier and took it out on the dolls representing their spouse,” Prof Brad Bushman said. “Even those who reported they had good relationships with their spouses were more likely to express anger if their blood glucose levels were lower...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.