A survey in Britain shows that teenage girls are more likely to drink, smoke, steal and take drugs than teenage boys.
The “ladette” culture, in which girls take part in the same behaviors as guys such as heavy drinking and partying, has grown more popular over the past 20 years. Girls take part in violent, aggressive and self-destructive activities, according to authorities.
The survey shows boys today are less likely to be drawn toward crime or drugs than they were in the 1980s. On the other hand, psychological and social problems among girls are greatly increasing.
The survey was given to 14- and 15-year-olds in schools under exam conditions. The survey results were compared to a similar one from 1985. One of the questions on the recent survey was about binge drinking – this question was not on the survey from ’85 because researchers did not believe binge drinking was a problem for young teenagers. Now the survey shows that 15 percent of boys admit to binge-drinking and 29 per cent of girls consider themselves to be binge-drinkers.
“Girls now significantly smoke and binge-drink more than boys. They truant, steal and fight at similar rates, and start under-age sex earlier than boys,” said project leader professor Colin Pritchard.
Pitchard blames binge-drinking, which nearly one-third of the teenage girls surveyed admitted to doing, for other bad behavior patterns. Some of these behaviors include stealing, fighting, taking drugs and engaging in sex.
In 1985 nearly half of all boys and girls drank alcohol on a regular basis. Last year, the percentage increased to 68 percent of boys and 85 percent of girls.
Girls were found to be far more likely than boys to have had sex. Thirty-one percent of girls admitted to having sex, while only 17 percent of boys did.
The study showed that the number of boys who admitted to smoking is half of what it was in the previous survey, however, the number of girls who admit to smoking has risen by nearly half. Furthermore, the number of girls admitting to have smoked marijuana has risen nearly fourfold, to one in five.
The survey was conducted by the Institute of Health and Community Studies at Bournemouth University. The survey suggested that there has been improvement in the behavior of teenage boys.
The number of boys who had admitted to stealing halved, and so did the number of boys who were regularly in fights. Truancy rates also decreased.
Moira Plant, co-author of the book “Binge Britain,” said that young women drink because it gives them a sense of power, and teenagers are likely to see drinking, as well as hangovers, as a “badge of honor.”
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