Boys with Girlish Names Prone to Behavioral Problems?

Did you know that boys with girlish names are more likely (than boys with boyish names) to exhibit behavioral problems in school?

Here’s how Prof. David N. Figlio explained the relationship to LiveScience:

When in elementary school, boys named Ashley and Shannon, for instance, behave just like their more masculine-named classmates named Brian and other boyish names.

“Once these kids hit sixth grade, all of a sudden the rates of disciplinary problems skyrocket [for those boys with girlish names], and it was much more the case if there happened to be a girl in the grade with that same name,” Figlio told LiveScience.

Imagine, Figlio said, having to come face-to-face with your girly name every day when there’s a girl in the classroom with a matching moniker. That suggests feelings of self-consciousness, which are perhaps magnified by teasing from others, play a role in the name-behavior link in this case.

Figlio’s study, “Boys named Sue: Disruptive children and their peers,” was published in Education Finance and Policy in 2007.

Source: Bryner, Jeanna. “Good or Bad, Baby Names Have Long-lasting Effects.” LiveScience. 13 June 2010.


One thought on “Boys with Girlish Names Prone to Behavioral Problems?

  1. More from Figlio on this topic, from How Your Name Influences Your Success by Rachel Belle.

    Boys with names that are typically given to girls: Ashley, Shannon, Jamie, Courtney. When he hits middle school, that’s when those kids tend to behave worse and worse and worse in school. That’s particularly the case if they happen to be in classes with a girl with the same name. So, a boy named Ashley in the same class with a girl name Ashley…it tends to bring the whole class down. Everyone in the class is misbehaving, getting into trouble at higher levels. Everyone is doing worse on their standardized tests.

    Those last two sentences surprised me — it influences the other kids as well? Huh.

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