Advertisement

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Stereotype domains Gender stereotypes Stereotype accessibility Gender differences 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

References

  1. Albert, A. A., & Porter, J. R. (1986). Children’s gender stereotypes: A comparison of the United States and South Africa. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 17, 45–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on the sexualization of girls. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A., & Bussey, K. (2004). On broadening the cognitive, motivational, and sociocultural scope of theorizing about gender development and functioning: Comment on Martin, Ruble, and Szkrybalo (2002). Psychological Bulletin, 130, 691–701.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauer, P. J., Liebl, M., & Stennes, L. (1998). Pretty is to dress as brave is to suit coat: Gender-based property-to-property inferences by 4 1/2-year-old children. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 44, 355–377.Google Scholar
  5. Bem, S. L. (1981). Gender schema theory: A cognitive account of sex typing. Psychological Review, 88, 354–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blakemore, J. E. O. (2003). Children’s beliefs about violating gender norms: Boys shouldn’t look like girls and girls shouldn’t act like boys. Sex Roles, 48, 411–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bussey, K., & Bandura, A. (1999). Social cognitive theory of gender development and differentiation. Psychological Review, 106, 676–713.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Campbell, A., Shirley, L., & Caygill, L. (2002). Sex-typed preferences in three domains: Do two-year-olds need cognitive variables? The British Journal of Psychology, 93, 203–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cristofaro, T. N., & Tamis-Lemonda, C. S. (2008). Lessons in mother–child and father–child personal narratives in Latino Families. In A. McCabe, A. L. Bailey, & G. Melzi (Eds.), Spanish-language narration and literacy: Culture, cognition, and emotion (pp. 55–89). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Deaux, K., & Lewis, L. L. (1984). Structure of gender stereotypes: Interrelationships among components and gender label. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 991–1004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dill, K. E., & Thill, K. P. (2007). Video game characters and the socialization of gender roles: Young people’s perceptions mirror sexist media depictions. Sex Roles, 57, 851–864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eckes, T., & Trautner, H. M. (2000). Developmental social psychology of gender: An integrative framework. In T. Eckes, & H. M. Trautner (Eds.), The developmental social psychology of gender (pp. 3–32). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  13. Edelbrock, C., & Sugawara, A. I. (1978). Acquisition of sex-typed preferences in preschool-aged children. Developmental Psychology, 14, 614–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Etaugh, C., & Liss, M. B. (1992). Home, school, and playroom: Training grounds for adult gender roles. Sex Roles, 26, 129–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fazio, R. H. (1990). Multiple processes by which attitudes guide behavior: The mode model as an integrative framework. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 23, 75–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fridell, S. R., Zucker, K. J., Bradley, S. J., & Maing, D. M. (1996). Physical attractiveness of girls with gender identity disorder. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 25, 17–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Graham, S., Taylor, A. Z., & Hudley, C. (1998). Exploring achievement values among ethnic minority early adolescents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 606–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Heyman, G. D., & Legare, C. H. (2004). Children’s beliefs about gender differences in the academic and social domains. Sex Roles, 50, 227–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Higgins, E. T. (1996). Knowledge activation: Accessibility, applicability, and salience. In E. T. Higgins & A. W. Kruglanski (Eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (pp. 133–168). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  20. Higgins, E. T., & Bargh, J. A. (1987). Social cognition and social perception. Annual Review of Psychology, 38, 369–425.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Higgins, E. T., & Brendl, M. (1995). Accessibility and applicability: Some “activation rules” influencing judgment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 31, 218–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Higgins, E. T., & King, G. (1981). Accessibility of social constructs: Information processing consequences of individual and contextual variability. In N. Cantor, & J. F. Kihlstrom (Eds.), Personality, cognition and social interaction (pp. 69–121). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  23. Higgins, E. T., & Wells, R. S. (1986). Social construct availability and accessibility as a function of social life phase: Emphasizing the “how” versus the “can” of social cognition. Social Cognition, 4, 201–226.Google Scholar
  24. Higgins, E. T., King, G., & Mavin, G. H. (1982). Individual construct accessibility and subjective impressions and recall. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 35–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Huston, A. C. (1983). Sex-typing. In P. H. Mussen (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 4 (4th ed., pp. 387–467). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Kilbourne, J. (2003). Beauty and the beast of advertising. In J. M. Henslin (Ed.), Down to earth sociology: Introductory readings (12th ed.). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  27. Liben, L. S., & Bigler, R. S. (2002). The developmental course of gender differentiation. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 67, 1–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Livesly, W. J., & Bromley, D. B. (1973). Person perception in childhood and adolescence. London: Wiley.Google Scholar
  29. Lueptow, L. B., Garovich-Szabo, L., & Lueptow, M. (2001). Social change and the persistence of sex typing: 1974-1997. Social Forces, 80, 1–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Martin, C. L., & Halverson, C. (1981). A schematic processing model of sex typing and stereotyping in children. Child Development, 52, 1119–1134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Martin, C. L., Wood, C. H., & Little, J. K. (1990). The development of gender stereotype components. Child Development, 61, 1891–1904.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Martin, C. L., Ruble, D. N., & Szkrybalo, J. (2002). Cognitive theories of early gender development. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 903–933.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McDermid, S. A., Zucker, K. J., Bradley, S., & Maing, D. M. (1998). Effects of physical appearance of masculine trait ratings of boys and girls with gender identity disorder. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 27, 253–267.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Miller, C. F., Trautner, H. M., & Ruble, D. N. (2006). The role of gender stereotypes in children’s preferences and behavior. In C. Tamis-LeMonda, & L. Balter (Eds.), Child psychology: A handbook of contemporary issues. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  35. Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2001). Gender differences in depression. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 173–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. O’Brien, M. H., Peyton, V., Mistry, R., Hruda, L., Jacobs, A., Caldera, Y., et al. (2000). Gender-role cognition in 3-year-old boys and girls. Sex Roles, 42, 1007–1025.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ohring, R., Graber, J. A., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2002). Girls’ recurrent and concurrent body dissatisfaction: Correlates and consequences over 8 years. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 31, 404–415.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Patrick, H., Neighbors, C., & Knee, C. R. (2004). Appearance-related social comparisons: The role of contingent self-perceptions of attractiveness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 501–514.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rholes, W. S., Newman, L. S., & Ruble, D. N. (1990). Understanding self and other: Developmental and motivational aspects of perceiving others in terms of invariant dispositions. In E. T. Higgins, & R. Sorrentino (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior: Vol. 2 (pp. 369–407). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  40. Ruble, T. L. (1983). Sex stereotypes: Issues of change in the 1970s. Sex Roles, 9, 397–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ruble, D. N., & Dweck, C. (1995). Self-conceptions, person conceptions, and their development. In N. Eisenberg (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychology: Vol. 15. Social development (pp. 109–135). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  42. Ruble, D. N., & Martin, C. (1998). Gender development. In N. Eisenberg (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3, personality and social development (5th ed., pp. 933–1016). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  43. Ruble, D. N., Martin, C. L., & Berenbaum, S. (2006). Gender development. In N. Eisenberg (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3, personality and social development (6th Edn.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  44. Ruble, D. N., Lurye, L. E., & Zosuls, K. M. (2007). Pink frilly dresses (PFD) and early gender identity. Princeton Report on Knowledge, 2. Retrieved January 9, 2009, from http://www.princeton.edu/prok/issues/2-2/pink_frilly.xml
  45. Serbin, L. A., Poulin-Dubois, D., Colburne, K. A., Sen, M. G., & Eichstedt, J. A. (2001). Gender stereotyping in infancy: Visual preferences for and knowledge of gender-stereotyped toys in the second year. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25, 7–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Signorella, M. L., Bigler, R. S., & Liben, L. S. (1993). Developmental differences in children’s gender schemata about others: A meta-analytic review. Developmental Review, 13, 147–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Six, B., & Eckes, T. (1991). A closer look at the complex structure of gender stereotypes. Sex Roles, 24, 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Smetana, J. G. (1986). Preschool children’s conceptions of sex-role transgressions. Child Development, 57, 862–871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stoddart, T., & Turiel, E. (1985). Children’s concepts of cross-gender activities. Child Development, 56, 1241–1252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Thompson, S. K. (1975). Gender labels and early sex-role development. Child Development, 46, 339–347.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Trautner, H. M., Ruble, D. N., Cyphers, L., Kirsten, B., Behrendt, R., & Hartmann, P. (2005). Rigidity and flexibility of gender stereotypes in children: Developmental or differential? Infant and Child Development, 14, 365–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tulving, E., & Pearlstone, Z. (1966). Availability versus accessibility of information in memory for words. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 5, 381–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ward, C. (1985). Sex trait stereotypes in Malaysian children. Sex Roles, 12, 35–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Williams, J. E., & Best, D. L. (1990). Measuring sex stereotypes: A multination study. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  55. Williams, J. E., Bennett, S. M., & Best, D. L. (1975). Awareness and expression of sex stereotypes in young children. Developmental Psychology, 11, 635–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zucker, K. J., Wild, J., Bradley, S., & Lowry, C. B. (1993). Physical attractiveness of boys with gender identity disorder. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 22, 23–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations