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Antisocial texting linked to bad behaviour in teens

Washington, Sept. 10 : Researchers have found that engaging in antisocial texting can actually predict bad behaviour.


University of Texas at Dallas researchers reported a correlation between the frequency with which adolescents text about antisocial behaviours and the likelihood that they will engage in them.

Dr. Samuel Ehrenreich, post-doctoral researcher in the School of Behavioural and Brain Sciences at UT Dallas, said that they examined how discussing antisocial behaviour - substance abuse, property crimes, physical aggression, that sort of thing - how discussing that predicts actually engaging in this problem behaviour.

Texts were collected and stored offsite in a secure database. The participants were rated before and after the school year for rule breaking and aggressive behaviour by parents, teachers and in self reports.

Analysis of a sample of texts from two points in time revealed similarities in the types of antisocial messages between boys and girls. These included discussions of rule-breaking, illicit substance use, physical aggression or property crimes.

Overall, the rate of antisocial texts was small, at less than 2 percent of the total messages sent and received.

However, from this small percentage of messages, a strong link was found between those teenagers exchanging antisocial texts and the ratings of antisocial and aggressive behaviour at the end of the school year.

The study has been published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

--ANI (Posted on 10-09-2013)

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