Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 413–425 | Cite as

Sex-typing behavior and sex-typing pressure in child/parent interaction

  • Carol Nagy Jacklin
  • Janet Ann DiPietro
  • Eleanor E. Maccoby


The sex-typing of children and the sex-typing pressure of parents was investigated during free play in a home visit. There were 30 male and 24 female 45-month-olds observed with their mothers and fathers in separate free-play sessions during which an array of both sex-stereotyped and neutral toys were available. Behavioral observations were recorded for a variety of parent, child, and dyadic behaviors, including initiations of sex-typed play, total sex-typed play, and rough-and-tumble play. Children initiated sex-typed play and played with sex-appropriate toys. Father-child and mother-daughter dyads were more likely to engage in thematic play appropriate to the child's sex, while in mother-son dyads equal amounts of masculine and feminine play occurred. In addition father-son dyads displayed the highest levels of rough-and tumble play and arousal of child by parent. The results suggest that fathers are the discriminating influence on sex-appropriate play.

Key words

sex typing differential socialization parent/child interaction 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Nagy Jacklin
    • 1
  • Janet Ann DiPietro
    • 2
  • Eleanor E. Maccoby
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois, Champaign-UrbanaUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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