Children around the world who grow up in dangerous neighborhoods exhibit more aggressive behavior, says a new study.
Researchers at Duke University interviewed parents and children from 1,293 families in nine countries: China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand and the United States, and asked families a series of questions about dangers in their neighborhoods.
Based on the answers, the researchers scored the neighborhoods according to their degree of danger.
To measure children's aggressive behavior, researchers asked parents and children to complete a widely used child-behavior checklist that captures behaviors such as screaming and threatening people.
In neighborhoods that parents described as highly dangerous, children exhibited higher levels of aggressive behavior. This link held true across all nine countries studied.
"This is an incredibly diverse set of countries from around the world, representing countries from the developing and the developed world and including individualistic and collectivist societies," lead author Ann T. Skinner said.
The study was published in the journal Societies.