Gender Differences in Adolescents in Residential Treatment

Authors


Clinical Services & Research, 13603 Flanagan Boulevard, Boys Town, NE 68010. E-mail: handwerkm@girlsandboystown.org

Abstract

Gender differences for adolescents in residential care were examined for a sample of 2,067 youths in a large residential facility. At admission, female youths were more troubled than male youths, as shown in significantly higher Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC) diagnoses and comorbidity rates, higher internalizing and externalizing Child Behavior Checklist scores, and significantly higher Suicide Prevention Scale hopelessness, negative self–evaluation, and suicide ideation scores. Girls had higher rates of depressive and anxiety diagnoses on the DISC at both admission and 1 year. Both genders demonstrated significant reductions in both externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors over the first year in the program. Girls had significantly higher rates of internalizing problem behavior but showed a significantly greater reduction in these behaviors than did boys. At departure, girls were rated as being more successful than boys by clinical staff. Youths did not differ by gender in their behavior on a 6–month follow–up success scale. Implications for prioritizing research addressing the needs of female adolescents in residential care are discussed.

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