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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Elaine Blakemore

Department/Program

Department of Psychology

University Affiliation

Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne

Abstract

For this presentation, the relationship between age, gender-related preferences, and gender-related attitudes in children was examined. These data were taken from a larger study looking at the impact of parental gender-related attitudes on their children's gender development. Participants consisted of 3- to 11-year-olds (35 male; 51 female; M age = 6.26 years; SD = 2.79). Because data collection is ongoing, these numbers may be different at the time of presentation. The children completed a measure of children's stereotyped attitudes and preferences, the Occupation, Activity and Traits Scales (Liben & Bigler, 2002). We only used the activities and occupations scales, which ask participants about their interests in doing various activities and occupations, which are stereotypically masculine, feminine, or gender-neutral. Analyses showed that girls do prefer feminine activities and occupations more than boys, but boys only preferred masculine activities more than girls did. Preferences for masculine occupations did not differ between boys and girls. Older children preferred feminine activities less than younger children.

We also measured the children’s gender-related attitudes about activities and occupations. There were no age or gender effects in most of the attitude measures, except that younger girls were more likely to stereotype activities as feminine than older girls. This means older girls were more flexible in their opinion regarding which gender should participate in the included activities. Furthermore, for boys, there were few relationships among age, preferences, and attitudes. However, the more the girls stereotyped occupations and activities for others, the more they preferred gender stereotyped activities themselves.

Disciplines

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

An Examination of the Relationship between Age and Children's Gender-Related Interests and Attitudes

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