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 (ESsg=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; ESsg=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.
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