Increased Risk Factors for Boys (page 3)
Statistics show boys are at greater risk than girls for developing learning disabilities, illiteracy, dropping out of school, substance abuse problems, violence, juvenile arrest, and early death caused by violent behavior. As boys grow older, risky behaviors, such as alcohol and drug abuse, become more prevalent and gang involvement increases.
Mortality and Victimization
- Death rates are more than twice as high for adolescent males compared to adolescent females.
- An estimated 1,600 persons under age 18 were murdered in the U.S. in 2002. About two-thirds (64%) of these juvenile murder victims were male.
- Rates of suicide for adolescent males (12 per 100,000 youth) are more than five times the rate for adolescent females (2 per 100,000 youth).
- From 1993 through 2003, the nonfatal violent victimization rate for males ages 12–17 was about 50% greater than that for females.
- Injury and violence are the leading cause of death among youth ages 5-19; motor vehicle crashes account for approximately 40% of all teen deaths; and almost one-quarter of young drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking alcohol. More male drivers ages 15 to 20 are involved in fatal car crashes than females and they are also more likely to have an alcohol-involved fatal crash.
- In 2002, 1.6 million youths, or 7% of 12 to 17year-olds, ran away from home and slept on the street during the past 12 months. About 55% were male.
- In 2003, 71% of all juveniles arrested ages 17 and under (2.2 million) were boys, and boys represented 85% of juvenile offenders in residential placement.
- Juvenile arrest rates for Property Crime Index offenses (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson) declined in 2003, falling 46% since 1980. In 2003, boys accounted for 68% of all juvenile property crime arrests.
- About 15% of all juvenile arrests were for Violent Crime Index offenses (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault). In 2003, boys represented 82% of all juvenile arrests for violent crimes. This rate declined in 2003 for the ninth consecutive year, falling 48% from its 1994 peak and reaching its lowest level since at least 1980.
- In 2003, the male juvenile Violent Crime Index arrest rate was 4.2 times the female rate compared to 8.3 times the female rate in 1980. The gender disparity between male and female violent crime arrest rates has decreased, reflecting an overall 26% decline in the male rate coupled with a 47% increase in the female rate.
- According to the 2004 Monitoring the Future Survey, the proportion of 12th graders who had used marijuana in the past 12 months, is higher among males than females (37% versus 31%) along with the proportion using marijuana daily (8% versus 3% for females). This gender difference is also true among 8th and 10th grade students.
- The annual prevalence-of-use rates on most other illicit drugs tend to be at least one and one-half to two times higher for males than females in the 12th grade. For many of these drugs, however, there is little gender difference in use among 8th and 10th graders; the differences between boys and girls seem to emerge over the course of middle to late adolescence.
- Boys are also more likely to use alcohol frequently. For example, daily alcohol use is reported by 4.1% of the 12th-grade males versus 1.4% of the 12th grade females. Males are more likely than females to drink large quantities of alcohol in a single sitting: 34% of 12th-grade males reported drinking five or more drinks in a row in the prior two weeks versus 24% of 12th-grade females. These gender differences become considerably larger at the upper grade levels. However, in the last two years, 8th grade girls actually had a higher binge drinking rate than 8th grade boys—11.8% vs10.8%.
- Female high school seniors tend to have higher educational aspirations than their male peers and are more likely to enroll in college immediately after graduating from high school. Females also account for the majority of undergraduate enrollment and the majority of bachelor's and master’s degree recipients. Females still lag behind males in enrollment in first–professional (e.g., law, medicine) and doctoral programs, but they have made gains in the past 30 years and are closing the gender gap.
- Boys often begin to fall behind girls in reading, and writing achievement in elementary school, and boys often show signs of behavioral problems early in life. Poor academic achievement is related to higher rates of school dropout and juvenile delinquency.
- Girls performed better than boys at every grade level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) writing assessment in 2002.
- In 2004, 12% of males ages 16 to 24 were high school dropouts, compared with 9% of females. Although males comprise one-half of the population, they make up 57% of the dropouts in this age group.
Reprinted with the permission of Helping America's Youth.
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