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Human Nature

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 369–390 | Cite as

Sex differences in children’s investment in peers

  • Joyce F. Benenson
  • Tamara Morganstein
  • Rosanne Roy
Article

Abstract

It is hypothesized from within an evolutionary framework that females should be less invested in peer relations than males. Investment was operationalized as enjoyment in Study 1 and as preference for interaction in Study 2. In the first study, four- and six-year-old children’s enjoyment of peer interaction was observed in 26 groups of same-sex peers. Girls were rated as enjoying their interactions significantly less than boys. In the second study, six- and nine-year-old children were interviewed about the individuals with whom they spend time in their homes and neighborhoods and about the individuals who participate in their favorite activities. The proportion of individuals named by children who were peers was significantly lower for girls than boys both in children’s neighborhoods and in children’s favorite activities. Results strongly support the hypothesis that females and males have evolved differential preferences for interaction with peers.

Key words

Canada Children Peer relations Sex differences 

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Copyright information

© Walter de Gruyter, Inc 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joyce F. Benenson
    • 1
  • Tamara Morganstein
    • 1
  • Rosanne Roy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational and Counselling PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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