Kids turn aggressive in dangerous neighbourhoods

Washington, Jan 23: Living in a dangerous neighbourhood may affect kids negatively and make them more aggressive, shows research.

In a first of its kind study spanning across nine countries, researchers at Duke University in North Carolina, US found that kids who grow up in dangerous neighbourhoods exhibit more aggressive behaviour.

The researchers asked families a series of questions about dangers in their neighbourhoods.

Based on the answers, the researchers scored the neighbourhoods according to their degree of danger.

To measure children’s aggressive behaviour, researchers asked parents and children to complete a widely used child-behaviour checklist that captures behaviours such as screaming and threatening people.

In neighbourhoods that parents described as highly dangerous, children exhibited higher levels of aggressive behaviour.

“This link held true across all nine countries studied based on parents’ responses,” said lead author Ann T. Skinner, a researcher with Duke’s centre for child and family policy.

“In all the countries we studied, we see that living in a dangerous neighbourhood may affect kids negatively,” Skinner added.

Researchers interviewed parents and children from 1,293 families in nine countries – China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand and the US.

In all nine countries, when children reported living in more dangerous neighbourhoods, harsh parenting practices were more common.

IANS