Behavioural problems in late childhood and early adolescence carry on into later adolescence and young adulthood and children from disadvantaged backgrounds are more at risk. Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle studied 800 children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 24. Children from low-income backgrounds were twice as likely to report having had early sexual intercourse (by age 11) and early delinquency (by age 10) than those from middle-income backgrounds although children from middle-income backgrounds were 1.5 times more likely to say they started drinking early. Far from it being a phase that children grew out of those children who showed an early and frequent involvement with risky sex, delinquency and alcohol use showed an increase in long-term crime, drink problems and risky sex in young adulthood.
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