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Boys With Progressive Views On Gender Are Less Likely To Engage In Violence Than Conservative Counterparts, Study Finds

A new study highlights how children with different attitudes on gender also act dissimilarly when it comes to violence.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Elizabeth Miller, who is also the chief of adolescent and young adult medicine at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, noted that the study differentiated itself from how political attitudes on gender were largely understood in the past, due to her study focusing on youth rather than adults.

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“We have for too long siloed sexual and partner violence in one place, youth violence and bullying in another,” she said, per a report from ABC News.

The study found that teenage boys with progressive viewpoints toward gender were half as likely to act out violently than teens with conservative viewpoints and strict views about masculinity were.

The study asked teenage boys to answer questions like, “A guy never needs to hit another guy to get respect,” and “I would be friends with a guy who is gay.” Higher agreement in those questions helped researchers identify which students were more progressive in their viewpoints. The study then compared rates of violent behavior among the boys based on their answers to those questions.

The study demonstrates a key way that bullying in schools based on gender could be addressed, although it does have some limitations. The study only looked at low-income students in Pittsburgh, for example, and didn’t examine suburban or rural students, nor wealthy or middle-class peers.

The study also demonstrated, however, that there was no significant difference in rates of homophobic bullying, Miller said. “You would anticipate that the more progressive your beliefs, the less likely you would be to engage in homophobic teasing. We did not find that,” she explained.

Other studies have shown that bullying, in recent years, tends to correspond with what some are calling “the Trump effect,” where some students with conservative viewpoints similar to President Donald Trump’s are engaging in higher rates of bullying.

One study from 2018, for instance, found that areas that had higher percentages for Trump in the 2016 presidential election in Virginia had higher rates of bullying than did areas where voters were more likely to support Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. In years prior, the geographic areas studied did not have much of a difference in bullying rates.



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