Disadvantaged boys ‘behave badly when surrounded by better-off families’

The Times is reporting research that suggests boys from poor families are more likely to behave badly when surrounded by affluent neighbours…

It claims boys from disadvantaged backgrounds who are surrounded by affluent neighbours were more likely to “lie, cheat, swear, fight and become delinquent.”

The research also found that boys from better-off homes behaved worse when they lived in deprived areas (although girls appear to have been relatively unaffected by their surroundings).

The report suggests the findings challenge “decades of policy making” based on the assumption that socially mixed areas will benefit disadvantaged children.

The report’s lead author Candice Odgers is quoted as saying “Our hope was that we would find economically mixed communities that allowed low-income children access to greater resources and the opportunity to thrive. Instead we found what appears to be the opposite effect…”

More at: Boys behave badly when surrounded by better-off families (subscription may be required)


Any thoughts, feedback or insights into the apparent findings here? Does it fit your own experiences or are you – like the researchers – surprised at the results? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Research.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove One could argue that people act the way they are “supposed” to act in situations. The more is made of it the more it happens

  2. GillespieAidan

    SchoolsImprove I know I did, do and will most likely continue to do so. Must be my single mother council house upbringing

  3. Janet2

    This doesn’t seem to affect girls but the ‘lead author’ is quoted as saying mixing up ‘children’ of different social backgrounds and economic status hasn’t worked because boys can’t adapt as well as girls.

    Surely this finding says more about boys than advantage/disadvantage?  Why do boys play up in this way when girls don’t?  Is it to do with how they perceive themselves (macho) or how society expects boys to behave (badly) or how some male role models behave or even just adolescence and testosterone overload?

  4. ibnmalik93

    SchoolsImprove Educationists just do not know how to work with disadvantaged children. We need more teachers from difficult backgrounds!

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