UK children are among world's best behaved

IN THE international naughty league, children from Puerto Rico and the United States are the worst behaved, while those from Sweden are angelic in comparison. British children show the same level of bad behaviour as the Germans and the Dutch, according to a study.

Experts believe genetic differences between cultures, the stability of family life, levels of education, wealth and alternative child-rearing practices contribute to differences in levels of bad behaviour in children.

The survey, which looked at child-behavioural reports of more than 13,500 children aged 6 to 17 in 12 cultures, found children in the US and Puerto Rico [a US dependent territory] displayed the most aggressive and delinquent behaviour, followed by Israel and Jamaica. Those children were also more likely to be anxious and depressed. Swedish children were the least likely to be violent and overall displayed the fewest social behavioural problems.

The research, published in this month's American Journal of Psychiatry, showed that while boys were more likely to be aggressive or display delinquent behaviour, girls world-wide were more likely to be anxious or depressed and have problems sleeping.

"The differences in children's behaviour are a result of both environmental and genetic factors," said Alfons Crijnen, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, who wrote the study.

"Overall, children who are well-educated are less likely to have behavioural problems. British children have the same level of behaviour as the Dutch and the Germans because they have a similar quality of education and their parents have the same attitudes towards child-rearing."

Dr Crijnen believes the findings will allow more study of how genetics influences behaviour. Child-rearing methods were also seen to have a big influence on behaviour.

Edward Melhuish, a professor of human development at Cardiff University, said that Sweden's anti-smacking policy, which was introduced more than 20 years ago, and which discourages parents from smacking their children, has had a direct effect on the low level of aggression in Swedish children.

"If the form of parental discipline involves violence then the children are more also more likely to use violence. Children who grow up in a home or neighbourhood environment where violence is acceptable tend to be more aggressive."

The findings of the research showed that children in the younger age groups had a greater tendency to be aggressive than those in their teens. In contrast, older children aged 15 to 17 were more likely to become withdrawn and have problems sleeping.

The greatest difference between the sexes was in the Netherlands.

Dutch adolescent boys aged 15 to 17 years were more aggressive and girls less aggressive than the gender trend in other countries.

Who's Bad?

1. Puerto Rico

2. United States

=3. Israel

=3. Jamaica

5. Thailand

6. Australia

7. The Netherlands

8. Britain

9. Germany

10. Sweden

Based on survey of 13,697 children in 12 countries.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
music
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'