Why can t you sit still hyperactivity and schooling outcomes for canadian brothers and sisters
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“Why Can’t you sit Still?:” Hyperactivity and Schooling outcomes for Canadian Brothers and Sisters. Kelly Chen, Nicole Fortin, Philip Oreopoulos and Shelley Phipps.

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Why can t you sit still hyperactivity and schooling outcomes for canadian brothers and sisters

“Why Can’t you sit Still?:” Hyperactivity and Schooling outcomes for Canadian Brothers and Sisters

Kelly Chen, Nicole Fortin, Philip Oreopoulos and Shelley Phipps


Why can t you sit still hyperactivity and schooling outcomes for canadian brothers and sisters

  • This research is being conducted as part of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Programme on Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being

  • We thank CIFAR for funding support and Heather Hobson of the Atlantic Research Data Centre for vetting our output


Motivation

Motivation

  • Young women now constitute the majority of undergraduates on most Canadian campuses

  • Young women have caught up with and surpassed young men in terms of educational attainment

    • In 2008, 36.5 percent of Canadian women aged 25 to 29 had a university degree compared to 24.1 percent of young men (Drolet, 2011)


Research questions

Research Questions

  • What are the roots of this phenomenon?

  • Are gender differences in educational outcomes apparent from the beginning?

  • If gender differences already evident for young children, why is this so?

  • Could a greater tendency to hyperactivity for boys be part of the story?


Conceptualizing educational outcomes

Conceptualizing “Educational Outcomes”

  • Test scores important, not the full story

  • Also important is the development of an identity as a student (Akerlof and Kranton, 2000; 2010)

    • Attitudes toward school?

    • Liking for school?

    • Aspirations?


A role for hyperactivity

A role for hyperactivity?

  • Children with ADHD have lower test scores and are more likely to repeat a grade at school (Currie and Stabile, 2006)

  • Epidemiological literature clear that boys are more hyperactive than girls


Why can t you sit still hyperactivity and schooling outcomes for canadian brothers and sisters

  • More hyperactive children may find it harder to be the “ideal student;” to fit in nicely with the social environment of the classroom

  • They may find it harder to sit still and concentrate

  • They may get in trouble more, do less well, be less motivated


Hasn t this always been true

Hasn’t this always been true?

  • Trend data on ADHD surprisingly limited, but some evidence of increases in ADHD (Perrin et al., 2007)

  • Norms/expectations of young school children may have changed

    • School environments less accepting of ‘boisterous’ behaviour (cuts to physical education, no ‘rough-housing’ on the playground)?

    • Serious work (reading) started younger?

  • If so, long-standing gender differences in hyperactivity levels may have become more problematic


Why can t you sit still hyperactivity and schooling outcomes for canadian brothers and sisters

  • *** not necessarily only clinical levels of hyperactivity that are important

  • Currie and Stabile, 2006 find parent reports of hyperactivity are associated with lower test scores well below clinical thresholds


Research strategy

Research Strategy

  • Test for gender differences in test scores plus parent assessments of over-all achievement and motivation for Canadian children aged 6 through 11

  • Use sibling difference models (to control for family background)

  • Include index of parent-reported hyperactive symptoms to test hypothesis that hyperactivity of boys helps explain gender differences


Why can t you sit still hyperactivity and schooling outcomes for canadian brothers and sisters

Data

  • Statistics Canada National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, 1994 through 2006 (every two years)

  • Pool sibling pairs from all available cycles, 6 through 11 years, each pair randomly selected once

  • Parent (person most knowledgeable) provides all information used here (except math test scores)


Parent s assessment of child s liking for school

Parent’s Assessment of Child’s Liking for School

  • Question: “With regard to how he/she feels about school, how often does he/she look forward to going to school?”

    • Almost never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Almost Always


How often does child look forward to going to school

How Often Does Child Look Forward to Going to School?


Relative liking for school of brothers compared to sisters

Relative Liking for School of Brothers Compared to Sisters


Parent s assessment of child s over all school performance

Parent’s Assessment of Child’s Over-all School Performance

  • Question: “Based on your knowledge of his schoolwork, including his/her report cards, How is he doing overall?”

    • Very poorly, poorly, Average, Well, Very well


How well is child doing at school overall

How Well is Child doing at School Overall?


Relative over all success at school of brothers compared to sisters

Relative Over-all Success at School of Brothers Compared to Sisters


Parental expectations for child s future education

Parental Expectations for Child’s Future Education

  • Question: “How far do you hope this child will go in school?”

    • High School or Less

    • Some Post-Secondary

    • University


How far do you hope your child will go in school

How far do you hope your child will go in school?


Relative educational expectations for brothers compared to sisters

Relative Educational Expectations for Brothers Compared to Sisters


Hyperactivity index

Hyperactivity Index

  • “How often would say this child . . .”

    • “Can’t sit still or is restless?”

    • “Is easily distracted, has trouble sticking to any activity”

    • “Can’t concentrate, can’t pay attention for long?”

    • “Is impulsive, acts without thinking?”

    • “Has difficulty waiting for his turn in games or groups?

    • “Cannot settle to anything for more than a few minutes”

    • “ Is inattentive?”

      1= Never or not true; 2= Sometimes or somewhat true; 3= Often or very true


Construction of score

Construction of Score

  • Add for all items

  • Score ranges from 0 to 14, with high score indicating highest level of hyperactivity

  • Mean for sample = 4

  • Children ‘on ritalin’ have mean score = 9.4


Hyperactivity scores for brothers compared to sisters

Hyperactivity Scores for Brothers Compared to Sisters


Estimation sibling fixed effects models

Estimation. Sibling Fixed Effects Models

  • To control for permanent, unobservable differences in family background

  • Yif = a + b1BOYif + b2HYPERif + λf + gXif + eif

  • Xifincludes only variables that differ between siblings (e.g., age in months, ‘older child,’ health status and cycle)


Sibling fixed effects liking for school

Sibling Fixed Effects. Liking for School.


Sibling fixed effects success at school

Sibling Fixed Effects. Success at School.


Sibling fixed effects parental educational hopes for child

Sibling Fixed Effects. Parental Educational Hopes for Child.


Sensitivity analyses

Sensitivity Analyses

  • Use parent report of ‘on ritalin’ rather than hyperactivity score (1.1% of girls; 4.1% of boys)

  • Use dummy indicator of ‘top decile’ of hyperactivity score

  • Both highly statistically significant themselves but have less impact on estimated size of ‘boy’ coefficient than full score, suggesting it isn’t just ‘clinical’ hyperactivity than helps explain the gender difference


Size of boy coefficient with and without controlling for on ritalin

Size of ‘Boy’ Coefficient With and Without Controlling for ‘On Ritalin’


With and without control for top decile hyperactivity score

With and Without Control for Top Decile Hyperactivity Score


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Using parent reports, boys like school less (brothers like school less well than sisters); boys perform less well; boys are not expected to complete as high levels of education

  • Hyperactivity scores are negatively associated with these outcomes

  • When hyperactivity is included as a regressor in sibling fixed effects, the size of ‘boy’ coefficient falls


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