Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 287–298 | Cite as

Human figure drawings of gender-problem children: A comparison to sibling, psychiatric, and normal controls

  • Kenneth J. Zucker
  • Jo -Anne K. Finegan
  • Robert W. Doering
  • Susan J. Bradley


The Draw-a-Person test was used to evaluate a number of questions regarding children referred for potential problems in their gender-identity development (N=36). Sibling (N=31), psychiatric (N=23), and normal (N=30) children served as comparison groups. The major results included the following: (1) The gender-referred children were more likely to draw an opposite-sex person when requested to “draw a person” than were the other three groups; (2) the gender-referred children who drew an opposite-sex person were more likely to play with opposite-sex toys and dress-up apparel on a free-play task than were the gender-referred children who drew a same-sex person; (3) the gender-referred children drew taller opposite-sex persons than same-sex persons; (4) using Koppitz's (1968) criteria, the normal children had a smaller proportion of emotional disturbance indicators in their same-sex drawings than did the other three groups. These findings were discussed with regard to psychometric and interpretive issues in the assessment of children with atypical gender-role behavior.


Normal Control Comparison Group Small Proportion Potential Problem Normal Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Reference note

  1. 1.
    Hollingshead, A. B.Four factor index of social status. Unpublished manuscript, Yale University.Google Scholar


  1. 2.
    Achenbach, T. M., & Edelbrock, C. S. Behavioral problems and competencies reported by parents of normal and disturbed children aged four through sixteen.Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 1981, 46(1, Serial No. 188).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Bates, J. E., Bentler, P. M., & Thompson, S. K. Gender-deviant boys compared with normal and clinical control boys.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 19797, 243–259.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Bates, J. E., Skilbeck, W. M., Smith, K. V. R., & Bentler, P. M. Gender role abnormalities in boys: An analysis of clinical ratings.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1974,2, 1–16.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Biller, H. B. A multiaspect investigation of masculine development in kindergarten age boys.Genetic Psychology Monographs, 1968,78, 89–138.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Bradley, S. J., Doering, R. W., Zucker, K. J., Finegan, J. K., & Gonda, G. M. Assessment of the gender-disturbed child: A comparison to sibling and psychiatric controls. In J. Samson (Ed.),Childhood and sexuality. Montreal: Editions Etudes Vivantes, 1980.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Cole, H. J., Zucker, K. J., & Bradley, S. J. Patterns of gender-role behavior in children attending traditional and non-traditional day-care centers.Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 1982,27, 410–414.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Doering, R. W.Parental reinforcement of gender-typed behaviors in boys with atypical gender identity. Doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto, 1981.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Finegan, J. K., Zucker, K. J., Bradley, S. J., & Doering, R. W. Patterns of intellectual functioning and spatial ability in boys with gender identity disorder.Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 1982,27, 135–139.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Gittelman-Klein, R. Validity of projective tests for psychodiagnosis in children. In R. L. Spitzer & D. F. Klein (Eds.),Critical issues in psychiatric diagnosis. New York: Raven Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Green, R., Fuller, M., & Rutley, B. It-scale for children and Draw-a-Person test: 30 feminine vs. 25 masculine boys.Journal of Personality Assessment, 1972,36, 349–352.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Hammer, M., & Kaplan, A. M. The reliability of sex of first figure drawn by children.Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1964,20, 251–252.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Hetherington, E. M. The effects of familial variables on sex typing, on parent-child similarity, and on imitation in children. In J. P. Hill (Ed.),Minnesota symposia on child psychology (Vol. 1). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    Jolies, I. A study of validity of some hypotheses for the qualitative interpretation of the H-T-P for children of elementary school age: I. Sexual identification.Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1952,8, 113–118.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Kirk, R. E.Experimental design: Procedures for the behavioral sciences. Belmont, California: Brooks/Cole, 1968.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Koppitz, E. M.Psychological evaluation of children's human figure drawings. New York: Grune and Stratton, 1968.Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    Kramer, C. Y. Extension of multiple range tests to group means with unequal numbers of replications.Biometrics, 1956,12, 307–310.Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    Litt, S., & Margoshes, A. Sex-change in successive D-A-P tests.Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1966,22, 471.Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    Rekers, G. A., & Yates, C. E. Sex-typed play in feminoid boys versus normal boys and girls.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1976,4, 1–8.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Skilbeck, W. M., Bates, J. E., & Bentler, P. M. Human figure drawings of gender-problem and school-problem boys.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1975,3, 191–199.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Sloan, W. A critical review of H-T-P validation studies.Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1954,10, 143–148.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Tolor, A., & Tolor, B. Children's figure drawings and changing attitudes toward sex roles.Psychological Reports, 1974,34, 343–349.Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    Zucker, K. J. Childhood gender disturbance: Diagnostic issues.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 1982,21, 274–280.Google Scholar
  23. 24.
    Zucker, K. J., Doering, R. W., Bradley, S. J., & Finegan, J. K. Sex-typed play in genderdisturbed children: A comparison to sibling and psychiatric controls.Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1982,11, 309–321.Google Scholar
  24. 25.
    Zucker, K. J., Finegan, J. K., Doering, R. W., & Bradley, S. J. Two subgroups of genderproblem children.Archives of Sexual Behavior, in press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth J. Zucker
    • 1
  • Jo -Anne K. Finegan
    • 1
  • Robert W. Doering
    • 1
  • Susan J. Bradley
    • 1
  1. 1.Child and Family Studies CentreClarke Institute of PsychiatryTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations