Sex Roles

, Volume 60, Issue 11–12, pp 870–881 | Cite as

Accessibility of Gender Stereotype Domains: Developmental and Gender Differences in Children

  • Cindy Faith Miller
  • Leah E. Lurye
  • Kristina M. Zosuls
  • Diane N. Ruble
Original Article


The present research examined developmental and gender differences in the relative accessibility of different gender stereotype domains. A 1988 Northeastern US sample of 256 children ages 3 to 10 years old provided open-ended descriptions of girls and boys. Responses were coded by domain to examine differences by grade, gender of participant, and gender of target. Analyses revealed that girls and older children provided a higher proportion of stereotypes, and that appearance stereotypes were particularly prevalent in descriptions of girls and activity/trait stereotypes were more prevalent in descriptions of boys. Results are discussed in terms of implications for research on the stereotype knowledge–behavior link and the need for more attention to the role of appearance stereotypes in the gender stereotype literature.


Stereotype domains Gender stereotypes Stereotype accessibility Gender differences 



This research was supported in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Research Grant #HD04994 to Diane N. Ruble. We are very grateful to the children and schools who participated in this study. We thank Judy Kwak and Faith Greulich for their help with coding data as well as several anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier drafts. We are also grateful to Lisa Cyphers for consulting with us on data analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cindy Faith Miller
    • 1
  • Leah E. Lurye
    • 1
  • Kristina M. Zosuls
    • 1
  • Diane N. Ruble
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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