Boys who are less aggressive in childhood are richer in adulthood

Boys who are less aggressive in childhood are wealthier in childhood. adulthood


If cared for early in primary school, aggressive boys will not only be less at risk of crime as adults, but they will earn much better wages, reveals a study conducted in Montreal.

“School and social services are not putting their energies and budgets in the right place to reduce the problems caused by aggressive boys”, deplores Richard E. Tremblay, who, with several colleagues, is writing an important article on the long-term effects of an early intervention program for boys from disadvantaged backgrounds in Montreal. 

“We have shown that the boy in care will not only be less exposed to drug addiction and delinquency during his adolescence, but that even his income will be significantly improved in adulthood,” he summarizes. -he. The article was published in the American Economic Review, one of the most important in the world in economic sciences.

With his colleagues from the Research Group on the Psychosocial Maladjustment of Children (GRIP), this professor from the University of Montreal has been following 1,200 boys from schools in underprivileged areas in Montreal since 1982.

Intervene or not?

The aggressive boys in kindergarten were divided into two groups. The first benefited from intensive intervention with the family and at school for two years, while the second did not receive this supervision. By comparing incomes four decades later, the researchers obtained this significant difference: 20% higher income for boys who had been helped compared to others who had the same problems. 

In place in the early 1980s in schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods of Montreal, the intervention consisted of attacking the causes of aggressive behavior as soon as possible and placing children in situations where they could better develop their social skills. /p>

Small problem becomes big

Among the thousands of children followed by GRIP, some are in prison, others are university graduates. Some became addicted to various substances and others led quieter lives. The purpose of GRIP studies is precisely to better understand the different trajectories.

The work of Professor Tremblay and his colleagues shows that each dollar invested in prevention in early childhood brings in several dollars in savings to the society in the future. Less social care at state expense, less imprisonment costs related to crime, less expenses related to dropping out, drug addiction.

Professor Tremblay, winner in 2017 of the Stockholm prize, which is described as the Nobel Prize for criminology, underlines that this type of intervention is not well received in schools, on the pretext that resources are monopolized by the oldest. “It's a mistake, because it's the little things that become the big ones.”