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March

Girls' childhood hyperactivity and physical aggression predict adult adjustment problems

MARCH 05, 2008

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, University College London, and University of Montréal (Canada), led by Dr Nathalie Fontaine, have published new research in the March 2008 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry that advances understanding about female adjustment problems in adulthood. 

From a population-based sample from  Québec in Canada, 881 females were followed between 6 and 21 years of age to understand the relationship between trajectories of hyperactivity and physical aggression during childhood, and adjustment problems in early adulthood.

Females on high trajectories of hyperactivity alone, as well as those on high trajectories of hyperactivity and physical aggression, were at highest risk of showing adjustment problems in adulthood, in particular nicotine use problems, mutual psychological aggression between partners, and low educational attainment. However, only those females on high trajectories of hyperactivity and physical aggression reported more frequent incidence of physical and psychological aggression towards their partners, as well problems such as early pregnancy, and the need for welfare assistance.

The study has important clinical implications as it suggests that interventions targeting elementary school aged girls with elevated levels of hyperactivity and physical aggression could reduce adjustment problems across the course of their lives.

The paper is entitled "Girls’ hyperactivity and physical aggression during childhood and adjustment problems in early adulthood: A 15-year longitudinal study"  and is authored by: Nathalie Fontaine, René Carbonneau, Edward D. Barker, Frank Vitaro, Martine Hébert, Sylvana M. Côté, Daniel S. Nagin, Mark Zoccolillo, & Richard E. Tremblay.  It is published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, 65 (3), 320-328.  For more information about the paper please go to:http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/65/3/320.

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