The study found that at 14, girls were also just as likely as boys to be involved in fights, threats and stealing - reinforcing the perception that young women are behaving more like their male friends.
University of Queensland sociologist Jake Najman, lead author of the research, said children were experiencing puberty at earlier ages because of increasing rates of obesity.
He said while early puberty for girls was related to an increased risk of aggression in adolescence, the same could not be said for boys.
"The most important finding we have is that when we look at the overall level of aggressive and/or delinquent behaviour by boys and girls at 14 years of age, the girls were just as aggressive as the boys, they were just as likely to be delinquent," Professor Najman said.
"What we're seeing, I think for the first time, is that many of the more common aggressive or delinquent types of behaviours that exist in society are now being exhibited by females in much the same way they were exhibited by males."
Professor Najman said more research was needed to find why some young females were starting to behave like males.
"The argument that it's males doing it because they're driven by their testosterone fails because the same thing is happening in females," he said.
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About Jim Liebelt
Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
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