Gender and Child Behavior Problems in Rural Nepal: Differential Expectations and Responses.

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Whereas epidemiologic studies consistently identify different rates and types of problematic behavior in boys and girls, there has been little research examining the ecocultural context in which these gender differences in child behavior problems develop, especially in non-Western settings. This qualitative study in rural Nepal explored how behavioral expectations differed based on gender role, gender discrimination, inequity, and treatment of children based on their gender identity. We conducted semi-structured interviews with a total of 14 parents, school workers, and community leaders from a village in rural Nepal. Interview transcripts were coded by two authors using predetermined and emergent codes to identify expectations, behavior problems, and responses to behavior problems, stratified by gender. Authors then arranged codes into categories based on emergent themes. Four major themes in the interviews were identified: (1) self-reported gender non-bias; (2) differentiated role expectations; (3) gender, "goodness", and differential thresholds for problem behaviors; and (4) boys and girls require different responses for misbehavior. Results from our study in Nepal reflect nearly universal models of gender differences in behavior. Of particular importance in South Asia, patrilocal marital practices were used to frame gender differences in expectations. To protect girls' future potential to marry, local cultural practices provide girls with lesser opportunities and less cultural space to conduct themselves in a disruptive manner than boys. Greater understanding of differential expectations and responses to disruptive behaviors by gender will be important for culturally-appropriate equitable programming in child development.






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Langer, Julia A, Julia V Ramos, Lajina Ghimire, Sauharda Rai, Brandon A Kohrt and Matthew D Burkey (2019). Gender and Child Behavior Problems in Rural Nepal: Differential Expectations and Responses. Scientific reports, 9(1). p. 7662. 10.1038/s41598-019-43972-3 Retrieved from

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Brandon A. Kohrt

Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Brandon Kohrt is a medical anthropologist and psychiatrist who completed his MD-PhD at Emory University in 2009. He is currently Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Global Health, and Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. Dr. Kohrt has worked in Nepal since 1996 researching and aiding victims of war including child soldiers. Since 2006 has worked with Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal. Dr. Kohrt has been a consultant to The Carter Center Mental Health Program Liberia Initiative since 2010. Dr. Kohrt is the component lead for the Grand Challenges Canada funded Mental Health Beyond Facilities (mhBeF) program in Nepal, Liberia, and Uganda. Dr. Kohrt has published scientific articles and book chapters about mental health among conflict- and disaster-affected populations in Nepal, Liberia, and Haiti. Dr. Kohrt has collaborated on numerous documentary films about human rights and global health including Returned: Child Soldiers of Nepal’s Maoist Army.  

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