Volume 89, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0025-9454
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2816


Gender differences and deviant behaviour: differences between boys and girls in the influence of individual, family and country characteristics on deviant behaviour

In this study, gender differences in adolescent problem behaviour and its possible causes on the individual and contextual level are analysed. The focus lies on differences between boys and girls in the influence of personality, family and national cultural context characteristics. Insights from different theoretical traditions are combined. We use information on 18,027 adolescents from 24 European countries from the 2010 EU Kids Online Survey to estimate multivariate multilevel models on important determinants of problem behaviour and their gender specific influence. Consistent with previous research, we find that adolescent boys show more problem behaviour than adolescent girls. Personality traits, such as self-control, largely explain this gender gap. Low self-control affects girls more strongly than boys. Both adolescent boys and girls in single parent households are more likely to participate in problem behaviour. Boys are more likely to use problem behaviour to cope with a low socioeconomic parental status than girls. Lastly, we found that the gender gap in problem behaviour differs between countries, and is partly explained by the level of gender inequality in a country. Cultural gender norms hinder problem behaviour among adolescent girls, whereas boys show more problem behaviour in these countries.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): cross-national; deviant behaviour; gender gap; personality traits; social context
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