Family context and gender role socialization in middle childhood: Comparing girls to boys and sisters to brothers
We studied the extent of sex-typing across different areas of child functioning (personality, interests, activities) in middle childhood as a function of the traditionality of parents' gender role attitudes and the sex composition of the sibling dyad. Participants included 200 firstborn children (mean = 10.4 years old), their secondborn siblings (mean = 7.7 years old) and their mothers and fathers. Family members were interviewed in their homes about their attitudes and personal characteristics and completed a series of seven evening telephone interviews about their daily activities. We measured children's attitudes, personality characteristics, and interests in sex-typed leisure activities (e.g., sports, handicrafts) as well as time spent in sex-typed leisure activities and household tasks (e.g., washing dishes, home repairs) and with same and opposite sex companions (i.e., parents, peers). Analyses revealed that sex-typing was most evident in children's interests and activities. Further, comparisons of girls versus boys and sisters versus brothers revealed that differences in children's sex-typing as a function of fathers' attitudes and sibling sex constellation were most apparent for children's activities. A notable exception was sex-typed peer involvement; time spent with same versus opposite sex peers was impervious to context effects. Analyses focused on children's sex-typing as a function of mothers' attitudes generally were nonsignificant.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
McHale, S. M., Crouter, A. C. and Tucker, C. J. (1999), Family Context and Gender Role Socialization in Middle Childhood: Comparing Girls to Boys and Sisters to Brothers. Child Development, 70: 990–1004. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.00072
© 1999 by the Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved. 0009-3920/99/7004-0015