Gender differences in personality characteristics and cognitive abilities in adolescents admitted in correctional institutes in Egypt

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ObjectivesTo ascertain differences between male and female adolescents admitted to correctional institutes in Egypt with respect to their personality characteristics and cognitive abilities.MethodsThis cross-sectional study was carried out in two correctional institutes in Cairo. Fifty adolescents admitted after being convicted by court (25 male, 25 female) were randomly selected, assessed, and compared with an age-matched control group (N=25). Data on personal, sociodemographic, and criminal history were collected. They were subjected to the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, The Hostility Questionnaire, and the Psychiatric Symptomatology Scale for adolescents.ResultsOf the students, 28% were male and 16% were female; 72% of male and 36% of female adolescents were working as unskilled manual workers. Male adolescents were more violent in their acts compared with female adolescents (48 vs. 8%); 12% of male adolescents were engaged in the use and sale of drugs compared with 8% of female adolescents; 44% of female adolescents were homeless compared with 4% of male adolescents; stress factors were mostly financial in male adolescents (88%), whereas in females sexual abuse was present in 24% in addition. Substance abuse was a dominant feature in both: 80% in male adolescents (nicotine smoking in 24% and polysubstance in 56%) and 64% in female adolescents (nicotine smoking in 44% and polysubstance in 20%). Adolescent girls had significantly higher scores in the adjustment disorder, identity disorder, and depression, bulimia, and sleep disorders on the symptomatology scale. They also had lower IQ in the total, verbal, performance, vocabulary, arithmetic, digit span, digit symbol, and block design scales of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. No significant difference was seen in the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and in the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.

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