12 June 2019

Dutch youngsters report hyperactivity relatively often

Hyperactivity is a relatively frequently occurring problem among Dutch youngsters. Youth researcher Elisa Duinhof of Utrecht University concludes this after comparing Dutch youngsters to youngsters from six other European countries. Her findings have been published in the British science journal Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences.

Duinhof used data from the HBSC research project, the large-scale research into the well-being of European youngsters, for her research. The Utrecht-based PhD candidate compared youngsters from the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania and Slovenia to each other.

The least behavioural problems

The Dutch youngsters scored the best on behavioural problems and also good on emotional problems and problems with peers. This means that Dutch youngsters report these problems proportionally less. Duinhof says: “That conforms with earlier research results in which we found that Dutch youngsters, compared to European peers, feel very happy and are satisfied about social relationships with friends. There are also fewer instances of bullying.”

One outlier: the Dutch youngsters turned out to experience hyperactivity the most often

The most frequent hyperactivity

However, Duinhof found one outlier. In the area of reported hyperactivity, the Dutch youngsters turned out to score the highest. “In our questionnaires, one of the things we ask them is whether or not they are restless. And whether or not they have difficulty concentrating and are quickly distracted. Of all the youngsters, the Dutch youngsters turned out to experience hyperactivity the most often.”

Guessing for the cause

What exactly is causing the Dutch youngsters to report hyperactivity relatively often is something Duinhof did not research. “It could be possible that Dutch youngsters report it more often because they are more familiar with it than their peers in other countries are. Or the Dutch youngsters have a lower threshold for reporting this type of problem. It's for a good reason that the Health Council of the Netherlands recently expressed concern about the increase in use of medication by Dutch youngsters to counteract hyperactivity. That also shows that the phenomenon lives among the Dutch youth.”

For more information
Press Office Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, phone number +31-30-253 4027, r.a.b.vanveen@uu.nl