We test the hypothesized effects of aggression on observed higher treatment rates for male than female adolescents over three waves of a panel. On the assumption that treatment is a social control response to deviant behavior, including aggression, we hypothesize that higher treatment rates for males are accounted for by higher rates of aggression by males. We also consider additional explanations such as the 'value hypothesis' which states that male adolescents are more highly valued and thus are more likely to be treated for problems, and the 'tolerance hypothesis', which states that differential treatment rates vary by differential tolerance of deviance for males and for females. Our findings suggest that initially observed gender differences in these treatment rates are accounted for partially (seventh grade) or entirely (eight and ninth grade) by increased likelihood of male aggression as measured by overt interpersonal aggressive behavior. Little evidence is found to support the other explanations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health