New study indicates hyperactive girls need intensive prevention programs.

A new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry conducted by researchers from l’Université de Montréal and University College London (UCL) concludes that young girls showing  hyperactive behaviour (agitation, trouble staying quiet) and aggressive behaviours (fighting, kicking, biting) have a higher risk of developing adjustment problems during their adult life. They are more inclined to start smoking, not perform well in school and get involved in mentally abusive relationships.

According to Nathalie Fontaine, lead researcher, not many studies have been done to examine hyperactivity and aggressive behaviour in girls. The study, involving 881 Canadian girls ages 6 to 21, showed that one girl in ten showed a high level of hyperactivity and one in ten  was highly hyperactive and aggressive.

“This study shows that hyperactivity combined with  aggressive behaviour in girls as young as six years old can lead to abusive relationships, trouble finding work and early pregnancies.” says Dr. Fontaine. She says the study suggests intensive programs of prevention in elementary school targeting girls should be created.

This said, not all hyperactive and aggressive girls will have trouble in adulthood. “About 25% of the girls with behaviour problems during their childhood did not develop any problems entering adult life,” says Dr. Richard Tremblay, co-author of the study, adding that more research is required on social aggression such as gossiping and exclusion practices.