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Examining boys' development.

Persistent concerns about boys growing up with absentee fathers and the seeming rise in incidents of mass violence perpetrated by disturbed young men begs the question, "What's going on with boys these days?" According to Child Trends, the nation's leading nonprofit research organization focused exclusively on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth, and their families, the following points (among others) are significant in examining boys' development compared to that of girls and the roles of race and ethnicity in outcomes for males:

* Compared to girls, from a health perspective, boys are more likely to have moderate-to-severe developmental delays and/or a special health care need. For example, boys are diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) more than twice as often as girls and are four times more likely to fall on the autism spectrum.

* Academically, boys perform less well than girls, at least prior to reaching post-secondary schooling. Boys more frequently lack engagement in school and fail to earn a high school diploma (7.2 percent compared to 6.3 percent of girls in 2013). In addition, fewer young men are enrolling in post-secondary education, with only 30 percent of young men between ages 20 and 25 earning a bachelor's degree or higher in 2013 compared to 37 percent of young women in the same age range.

* The effects of poverty may have a stronger negative impact on boys than girls. Young men growing up in poor neighborhoods that are economically, racially, or ethnically segregated are more than ten times more likely to find themselves incarcerated than their female counterparts, and that gap continues to rise.

* Young men of color, black and Hispanic, are more likely to have experienced events that can be traumatizing and lead to stress-related illnesses down the road, such as being the victim of or witnessing domestic or neighborhood violence, being a victim of racism, or having financial hardship.

* White young men are more likely than black males to have lived with an adult with a substance abuse issue, and more likely than Hispanic males to have lived with an adult who was severely depressed, suicidal, or suffering from another mental illness.

For more information on Child Trends' analyses of the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children's Health (which surveyed parents of children 17 and younger about their children's well-being) and other scientific literature on gender disparities in children and youth, particularly pertaining to boys, visit


Child Trends. (2016). 5 Things to know about boys. Retrieved from

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Publication:Camping Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2016
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