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Scand J Psychol. 2007 Oct;48(5):375-82.

Childhood disruptive behaviors and family functioning in clinically referred children: are girls different from boys?

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Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway.


Baseline assessments of 4 to 8-year-old children, 26 girls and 101 boys, referred to outpatient treatment for disruptive behaviors, were examined, focusing on possible differences between the functioning of boys and girls and their families. Child variables included diagnostic information, measures of disruptive behaviors, social competence, and independent observations of child behaviors. A variety of family variables, such as information regarding parenting practices, parental stress, and depression were included. Teacher reports of disruptive behaviors and social competence at school were included. Teacher ratings of child functioning indicated that boys displayed significantly more externalizing behaviors and they were less socially competent than girls. Parents perceived both girls and boys as highly oppositional and aggressive, and generally speaking, differences were few. Nevertheless, the level of stress was higher in girls' than in boys' families, and mothers of girls reported of higher levels of depressive symptoms. Girls and boys did not differ regarding diagnostic status.

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