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J Abnorm Psychol. 2000 Aug;109(3):488-503.

Age and gender differences in oppositional behavior and conduct problems: a cross-sectional household study of middle childhood and adolescence.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago, USA.


Behavior problems among youths cannot be understood without explaining their age and gender differences, but age and gender differences cannot be explained until they have been accurately described. In a household survey of 1,285 youths aged 9 to 17 years, there were no gender differences in oppositional behavior, but aggression, property offenses, and status offenses were more common among boys. Levels of oppositional behavior were greater at younger ages, aggression peaked near the middle of this age range, and property and status offenses were more prevalent at older ages. These findings are generally consistent with developmental models of conduct problems but are inconsistent with a recent model of gender differences and raise questions about the external validity of current taxonomies.

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