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The Development of Sex Role Stereotypes in the Third Year: Relationships to Gender Labeling, Gender Identity, Sex-Types Toy Preference, and Family Characteristics

Marsha Weinraub, Lynda Pritchard Clemens, Alan Sockloff, Teresa Ethridge, Edward Gracely and Barbara Myers
Child Development
Vol. 55, No. 4 (Aug., 1984), pp. 1493-1503
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130019
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130019
Page Count: 11
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The Development of Sex Role Stereotypes in the Third Year: Relationships to Gender Labeling, Gender Identity, Sex-Types Toy Preference, and Family Characteristics
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Abstract

The onset and development of preschoolers' awareness of sex role stereotypes, gender labeling, gender identity, and sex-typed toy preference were explored in 26-, 31-, and 36-month-old children. Gender labeling, gender identity, sex-typed toy preferences, and awareness of adult sex role differences were observed in significantly more 26-month-old children than would have been expected by chance. Verbal gender labeling was observed in a majority of 26-month-olds, while verbal and nonverbal gender identity were observed in a majority of 31-month-olds. Nonverbal gender labeling and awareness of adult sex role differences were observed in a majority of children by 36 months. No evidence of awareness of sex differences in children's toys was found in the majority of children at any age. Awareness of sex role differences in children's toys was not related to awareness of adult sex role differences. Brighter children were more aware of adult sex role differences. Sex-typed toy preference was not related to awareness of sex role differences but was related to gender identity. Predictors of sex role development included the mothers' employment, and the father's personality traits, attitudes toward women, and sex-typed activities in the home. Implications for theories of early sex role development are discussed.

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