Girls are starting puberty earlier and as a result are more likely to become aggressive teenagers, Queensland researchers have found.

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.

Source: Couriermail.com.au
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