Children who misbehave in school are likely to end up with a dud job, poor
mental health, or even worse, a British study says.
The British Medical Journal (BMJ), which published the paper, said that teachers
who sound warnings to their students about anti-social behavior, will be
provided with statistical backing.
An exceptionally long-term investigation was launched among 3,652 Britons who
were born in 1946. The volunteers were asked to fill in questionnaires about
their health, family and professional life since their birth. And with their own
consent, they have been monitored at occasional intervals.
At the ages of 13 and 15, the group was assessed by their teachers, who were
asked to grade their behavior as having severe, mild or no conduct problems.
A total of 9.5 percent of the teenagers were identified as having severe
problems, 28.8 percent had mild problems and 61.7 percent no problems.
Forty years later, the follow-up inquiry found a clear link between misbehavior
at school and difficulties in adult life.
"Adolescent misconduct might adversely affect developing social behavior and
result in pervasive social and mental health difficulties throughout adult
life," the paper suggested, according to The Fiji Times published.
Compared to those with no conduct problems at school, those who severely
misbehaved were twice as likely to become a parent before the age of 20, more
likely to get divorced or have relationship problems with spouses, children or
friends, four times likely to leave school with no qualification and twice as
likely to be in a manual job or unemployed.
Problems in life also extended, but to a lesser degree, to those with milder
forms of misbehavior.
Males accounted for 62.6 percent of those with severe behavioral problems at
school and 54.8 percent of those with mild problems. If the father had a manual
job, this too was a major factor among teenagers in these categories.
The study is led by Ian Colman, an assistant professor of public health at the
University of Alberta, Canada.