Zinc levels, cognitive and personality features in children with different socioeconomic backgrounds


  • Victoria Papadopol
  • Eugenia Tuchendria
  • Iliana Palamaru


Zinc is an essential nutrient having a complex biological role, including neuropsychological aspects. The study aimed to compare zinc level and psychic features in two pupils groups from different socioeconomic backgrounds. It also ascertains the relationship between zinc levels and aspects of intellectual development (attention, memory, intelligence) and personality features (psychoticism, neuroticism and extraversion). 103 pupils from an orphanage and 100 pupils from a regular state school were investigated. They were 11-15 years old and apparently healthy. Serum and erythrocyte zinc mean values were higher in the regular state school group (p=0.001 in both cases). The distribution of subjects regarding intellectual development was different in the two groups (p=0.000 in all cases) and personality features differed regarding psychoticism and neuroticism tendencies (p=0.019 and p=0.012 respectively). The U-test showed a significant difference between the subjects with deficient serum zinc and those with normal serum zinc as regarding attention (p=0.024) and intelligence (p=0.035) and between the subjects with deficient erythrocyte zinc and those with normal erythrocyte zinc as regards extraversion (p=0.011) in the group from the orphanage. Subjects with normal zinc status obtained higher (better) scores for psychological traits in all these situations. In conclusion, zinc levels and psychological features were different in the two groups of pupils. Our study pointed out a positive connection between zinc level and some aspects of intellectual developmental and personality features, emphasizing the importance of this trace element for the normal psychological status of children.