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A recent study put out by the University of Washington found that girls growing up with a parent dealing with heroin dependence, incarceration, mental illness, or violence were four times more resilient than boys growing up in similar circumstances.  Resilience was defined as “working or being in school [until adulthood], avoiding substance abuse and staying out of trouble with the law in the past five years.”  (Although that may seem like a very minimal expectation, only 30 of the 125 surveyed children demonstrated resilience of that quality.)  The sample was taken from children of parents utilizing methadone clinics in Seattle metro areas.  The major factor affecting that finding seemed to be that boys more often had criminal charges against them.

I wonder about the affect gender socialization has on that outcome.  Are males socialized more to respond in violence to adverse circumstances?  Are males actually doing more criminal activity, or are females doing more criminal activity under the supervision of pimps?  If males are doing more criminal activity, are they doing it to provide for their families?  (If you join a gang, there is an element of protection there, not to mention an opportunity to make some money.)  Also, how would the data be different if it were taken from more upper to middle class constituents, or from a third world setting?  What do you think?

University of Washington (2009, February 12). Girls Growing Up With Heroin-addicted Parent More Resilient Than Boys. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 13, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/02/090211161859.htm

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