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Book and Media Reviews
December 12, 2007

Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(22):2680-2686. doi:10.1001/jama.298.22.2684

Concern about ne’er do well sons is ancient. In a quote attributed to Socrates by Plato, Socrates laments, “The children now live in luxury . . . and love chatter instead of exercise.” Leonard Sax, a family physician and research psychologist, continues this tradition in Boys Adrift, arguing that there is a growing epidemic of unmotivated boys and underachieving young men. Five factors are identified to account for this proposed decline: (1) feminization of education; (2) video games; (3) increased prescription of psychotropic medications that affect the motivational systems of the brain; (4) exposure to endocrine disrupters; and (5) lack of heroic role models.

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