Advertisement

Sex Roles

, Volume 35, Issue 11–12, pp 711–735 | Cite as

The effects of nongender-role stereotyped, same-sex role models in storybooks on the self-esteem of children in grade three

  • Jan M. Ochman
Article

Abstract

This study examined the effect of nonstereotyped, same-sex role models on the self-esteem of children in Grade Three. There were 346 subjects: 315 white Australian, 15 Asian, 3 Aboriginal, 2 African, 5 Middle Eastern, and 6 European. Five groups were formed from these 346 children. Four of the groups were exposed to 12 nongender-role stereotyped stories over 4 weeks that varied from each other according to the sex of the story reader and the sex of the main character. The fifth group was a control group that was used to calculate stability and reliability. A self-concept measure was administered in a pre- and posttest format to all children. A three-way analysis of variance and subsequent analyses revealed that both girls' and boys' self-esteem increased more with same-sex role models than with the other-sex role models. In addition, girls responded better to a male role model than boys did with a female role model. The sex of the reader was irrelevant in all cases. It is concluded that since same-sex characters in storybooks can positively affect children's self-esteem, it is important for both girls and boys to have equal access to strong same-sex characters.

Keywords

Social Psychology Role Model Middle Eastern Main Character Equal Access 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adler, E. S., & Clark, R. (1991). Adolescence: A literary passage.Adolescence, 26 757–768.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Allgood-Merten, B., & Stockard, J. (1991). Sex role identity and self-esteem: A comparison of children and adolescents.Sex Roles, 25 129–139.Google Scholar
  3. Alsaker, F. D. (1990).Global negative self-evaluations in early adolescence. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.Google Scholar
  4. Alsaker, F. D., & Olweus, D. (1991, July). Stability of global self-evaluations in early adolescence: A cohort longitudinal study. In R. A. Eder & L. Oppenheimer (Co-Conveners),Self-concept: Its function across the life span. Symposium conducted at the 11th Biennial Meetings of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Minneapolis, MN.Google Scholar
  5. American Association of University Women. (1991).Shortchanging girls, shortchanging America. Washington, DC: AAUW Initiative for Educational Equity. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 340657.)Google Scholar
  6. American Association of University Women. (1992).Shortchanging girls, shortchanging America: A call to action. Washington, DC: AAUW Initiative for Educational Equity, (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 340 659.)Google Scholar
  7. Ashby, M. S., & Wittmaier, B. C. (1978). Attitude changes in children after exposure to stories about women in traditional or nontraditional occupations.Journal of Educational Psychology, 70 945–949.Google Scholar
  8. Bem, S. B. (1987). Masculinity and femininity exist only in the mind of the perceiver. In J. M. Reinisch, L. A. Rosenblum, & S. A. Sanders (Eds.),Masculinity/femininity: Basic perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bogan, J. (1988). The assessment of self-esteem: A cautionary note.Australian Psychologist, 23 383–389.Google Scholar
  10. Boucher, B. H., Doescher, S. M., & Sugawara, A. I. (1993). Preschool children's motor development and self-concept.Perceptual and Motor Skills, 76 11–17.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown, D. G. (1957). Masculinity-femininity development in children.Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21 197–202.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Burkhart, D. (1983).A sustained silent reading program designed for second grade to foster a positive reading attitude and develop the reading habit. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 257 037.)Google Scholar
  13. Bussey, K., & Bandura, A. (1984). Influence of gender constancy and social power on sex-linked modeling.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47 1292–1302.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Child, I. L., Potter, E. H., & Levine, E. M. (1946). Children's textbooks and personality development: An exploration in the social psychology of education.Psychology Monographs, 60 1–54.Google Scholar
  15. Connor, J. M., & Serbin, L. A. (1978). Children's responses to stories with male and female characters.Sex Roles, 4 637–645.Google Scholar
  16. Dougherty, W. H., & Engel, R. (1987). An 80s look for sex equality in Caldecott Winners and Honor Books.The Reading Teacher, 40 394–398.Google Scholar
  17. Drabman, R. S., Robertson, S. J., Patterson, J. W., Jarvie, G., Hammer, D., & Cordau, G. (1981). Children's perception of media-portrayed sex roles.Sex Roles, 7 379–389.Google Scholar
  18. Durkin, K., & Hutchins, G. (1984). Challenging traditional sex role stereotypes in careers education broadcasts: The reactions of young secondary school pupils.Journal of Educational Television, 10 25–33.Google Scholar
  19. Fear-Fenn, M., & Kapostasy, K. K. (1992).Math + science + technology = vocational preparation for girls: A difficult equation to balance. Columbus, OH: Center for Sex Equity. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 341863.)Google Scholar
  20. Fleming, D. (1983, June).The participation of women in Australian educational management—strategies for change. Paper presented to the Board of the Australian Council of Educational Administration; Brisbane, Australia.Google Scholar
  21. Gaeddert, W., Kahn, A., Frevert, R., & Shirley, R. (1981).Role model choice: Who do women say their models are? Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (53rd, Detroit, MI, April 30-May 2, 1981). (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 206 986.)Google Scholar
  22. Gaerity, K. (1987).Sexism in two editions of a primary reading series. Unpublished manuscript, Kean College, NJ.Google Scholar
  23. Geis. F. L., Brown, V., Jennings (Walstedt), J., & Porter, N. (1984). T.V. commercials as achievement scripts for women.Sex Roles, 10 513–525.Google Scholar
  24. Gelb, S. A. (1989). Language and the problem of male salience in early childhood classroom environments.Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 4 205–215.Google Scholar
  25. Hall, J. A., & Halberstadt, A. G. (1980). Masculinity and femininity in children: Development of the Children's Personal Attribute Questionnaire.Developmental Psychology, 16 270–280.Google Scholar
  26. Harris, M. B., & Satter, B. J. (1981). Sex-role stereotypes of kindergarten children.The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 138 49–61.Google Scholar
  27. Harter, S., & Chao, C. (1992). The role of competence in children's creation of imaginary friends.Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 38 350–363.Google Scholar
  28. Harter, S., & Pike, R. (1984). The Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competencies and Social Acceptance for Young Children.Child Development, 55 1969–1982.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Hennessey, B. A., & Zbikowski, S. M. (1993). Immunizing children against the negative effects of reward: A further examination of intrinsic motivation training techniques.Creativity Research Journal, 6 297–307.Google Scholar
  30. Hitchcock, M. E., & Tompkins, G. E. (1987). Basal readers: Are they still sexist?The Reading Teacher, 41 288–292.Google Scholar
  31. Hughes, C. M., Martinek, S. A., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (1985). Sex role attitudes and career choices: The role of children's self-esteem.Elementary School Guidance and Counseling, 20 57–66.Google Scholar
  32. Ignico, A. A. (1989). Development and verification of a gender-role stereotyping index for physical activities.Perceptual and Motor Skills, 68 1067–1075.Google Scholar
  33. Jeffrey, L., & Durkin, K. (1989). Children's reactions to televised counter-stereotyped male sex role behavior as a function of age, sex, and perceived power.Social Behavior, 4 285–310.Google Scholar
  34. Jennings (Walstedt), J., Geis, F. L., & Brown, V. (1980). Influence of television commercials on women's self-confidence and independent judgment.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38 203–210.Google Scholar
  35. Joesting, J., & Joesting, R. (1972). Sex differences in group belongingness as influenced by instructor's sex.Psychological Reports, 31 717–718.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Kaminski, D., & Sheridan, E. M. (1984). Children's perceptions of sex stereotyping: A five-year study.International Journal of Women's Studies, 7 24–36.Google Scholar
  37. Katz, P. A. (1979). The development of female identity.Sex Roles, 5 155–178.Google Scholar
  38. Katz, P. A. (1986). Modification of children's gender-stereotyped behavior: General issues and research considerations.Sex Roles, 14 591–602.Google Scholar
  39. Katz, P. A., & Boswell, S. (1986). Flexibility and traditionality in children's gender roles.Genetic, Social and General Psychology Monographs, 112 103–147.Google Scholar
  40. Keith, P. M. (1988). The relationship of self-esteem, maternal employment, and work-family plans to sex role orientations of late adolescents.Adolescence, 23 959–966.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Kelly, A., & Smail, B. (1986). Sex stereotypes and attitudes to science among eleven-year-old children.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 56 158–168.Google Scholar
  42. Kolbe, R., & LaVoie, J. C. (1981). Sex-role stereotyping in preschool children's picture books.Social Psychology Quarterly, 44 369–374.Google Scholar
  43. Kuhn, D., Nash, S. C., & Brucken, L. (1978). Sex role concepts of two and three year olds.Child Development, 49 445–451.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Leinbach, M. D., & Fagot, B. I. (1986). Acquisition of gender labels: A test for toddlers.Sex Roles, 15 655–666.Google Scholar
  45. McArthur, L., & Eisen, S. (1976). Achievements of male and female storybook characters as determinants of achievement behavior by boys and girls.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 33 467–473.Google Scholar
  46. Martin, C. L., & Little, J. K. (1990). The relation of gender understanding to children's sex-typed preferences and gender stereotypes.Child Development, 61 1427–1439.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Maxwell, S. E., & Howard, G. S. (1981). Change scores—necessarily anathema?Educational and Psychological Measurement, 41 747–756.Google Scholar
  48. Montemayer, R. (1974). Children's performance in a game and their attraction to it as a function of sex-typed labels.Child Development, 45 152–156.Google Scholar
  49. Nadelman, L. (1970). Sex identity in London children: Memory, knowledge, and preference tests.Human Development, 13 28–42.Google Scholar
  50. Ollila, L., Bullen, C., & Collis, B. (1989). Gender-related preferences for the choice of particular animals as writing topics in grade one.Journal of Research and Development in Education, 22 37–41.Google Scholar
  51. Omizo, M. M., Omizo, S. A., & D'Andrea, M. J. (1992). Promoting wellness among elementary school children.Journal of Counseling and Development, 71 194–198.Google Scholar
  52. O'Neil, J. M., Egan, J., Owen, S. V., & Murry, V. M. (1993). The Gender Role Journey Measure: Scale development and psychometric evaluation.Sex Roles, 28 167–185Google Scholar
  53. Orr, E., & Ben-Eliahu, E. (1993). Gender differences in idiosyncratic sex-typed self-images and self-esteem.Sex Roles, 29 271–296.Google Scholar
  54. Owens, C. R., & Ascione, F. R. (1991). Effects of the model's age, perceived similarity, and familiarity on children's donating.Journal of Genetic Psychology, 152 341–357.Google Scholar
  55. Parish, T. S., Bryant, W. T., & Prawat, R. S. (1977). Reversing effects of sexism in elementary school girls through counter-conditioning.Journal of Instructional Psychology, 4 11–16.Google Scholar
  56. Paulsen, K., & Johnson, M. (1983). Sex role attitudes and mathematical ability in fourth-, eighth-, and eleventh-grade students from a high socioeconomic area.Developmental Psychology, 19 210–214.Google Scholar
  57. Peterson, C., & Peterson, J. (1986). Children and cigarettes: The effect of a model who quits.Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 7 293–306.Google Scholar
  58. Pierce, K., & Edwards, E. D. (1988). Children's construction of fantasy stories: Gender differences in conflict resolution strategies.Sex Roles, 18 393–404.Google Scholar
  59. Potter, B. A. (1978). Sex of the protagonist in children's storybooks: Effect on self-concept.Journal on Instructional Psychology, 5 6–14.Google Scholar
  60. Potter, E. F., & Rosser, S. V. (1992). Factors in life science textbooks that may deter girls' interest in science.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29 669–686.Google Scholar
  61. Putnam, B. A., & Hansen, J. C. (1972). Relationship of self-concept and feminine role concept to vocational maturity in young women.Journal of Counseling Psychology, 19 436–440.Google Scholar
  62. Richman, C. L., Clark, M. L., & Brown, K. P. (1985). General and specific self-esteem in late adolescent studies: Race × gender × SES effects.Adolescence, 20 555–566.Google Scholar
  63. Robinson-Awana, P., Kehle, T., & Jenson, W. (1986). But what about smart girls? Adolescent self-esteem and sex role perceptions as a function of academic achievement.Journal of Educational Psychology, 78 179–183.Google Scholar
  64. Schwartz, W., & Hanson, K. (1992). Equal Mathematics Education for Female Students. (Report No. 78). Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc., Center for Equity and Cultural Diversity. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 344 977.)Google Scholar
  65. Scott, K. P. (1986). Effects of sex-fair reading materials on pupils' attitudes, comprehension, and interest.American Educational Research Journal, 23 105–116.Google Scholar
  66. Scott, K. P., & Feldman-Summers, S. (1979). Children's reactions to textbook stories in which females are portrayed in traditionally male roles.Journal of Educational Psychology, 71 396–402.Google Scholar
  67. Seegmiller, B. R. (1980). Sex-role differentiation in preschools: Effects of maternal employment.The Journal of Psychology, 104 185–189.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Shell, R., & Eisenberg, N. (1990). The role of peers' gender in children's naturally occurring interest in toys.International Journal of Behavioral Development, 13 373–386.Google Scholar
  69. Simmons, C. H., & Parsons, R. J. (1983). Developing internality and perceived competence: The empowerment of adolescent girls.Adolescence, 18 917–922.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Smith, N. J., Greenlaw, M. J., & Scott, C. J. (1987). Making the literate environment equitable.The Reading Teacher, 40 400–407.Google Scholar
  71. Stacey, S., & Rust, J. O. (1985). Evaluating the effectiveness of the DUSO-1 (revised) program.Elementary School Guidance and Counseling, 9 84–90.Google Scholar
  72. Stapleton, C. (1984). Self-concept and role models.Quest, 38 38–39.Google Scholar
  73. Stein, A. H., Pohly, S. K., & Mueller, E. (1971). The influence of masculine, feminine, and neutral tasks on children's achievement behavior, expectancies of success, and attainment values.Child Development, 42 195–207.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Sylva, K. (1992). The impact of pre-school education on later educational motivations and attributions.Educational and Child Psychology, 9(2), 9–16.Google Scholar
  75. Taylor, K., Lesiak, J. L., Carroll, J., & Lesiak, W. J. (1993). Kindergartners' responses to males in nontraditional roles: A replication of Styer (1975).Psychological Reports, 72(3, pt 2), 1179–1183.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. The Educational Consumers' Newsletter (1991).EPIE: The educational consumers' newsletter. Water Mill, NY: Educational Products Information Exchange Institute. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 340354.)Google Scholar
  77. Thompson, S. K. (1975). Gender labels and early sex role development.Child Development, 46 339–347.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. Weinraub, M., Clemens, L. P., Sockloff, A., Etheridge, T., Gracely, E., & Myers, B. (1984). The development of sex role stereotypes in the third year: Relationships to gender labeling, gender identity, sex-typed toy preference, and family characteristics.Child Development, 55 1493–1503.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  79. Weitzman, L. J., Eifler, D., Hokada, E., & Ross, C. (1972). Sex-role socialization in picture books for preschool children.American Journal of Sociology, 77 1125–1150.Google Scholar
  80. Wells, L. E., & Marwell, G. (1976).Self esteem: Its conceptualization and measurement (Vol. 20). Beverly Hills: Sage Publishers.Google Scholar
  81. Whitley, B. E., Jr. (1983). Sex-role orientation and self-esteem: A critical meta-analytic review.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 44 765–778.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  82. Wilson, C. C., Lazarre, J. A., & Tingstron, D. H. (1989). Children's resistance to deviation: Multiple behavioral models.Journal of Genetic Psychology, 150 75–83.Google Scholar
  83. Women on Words and Images. (1975).Dick and Jane as victims: Sex stereotyping in children's readers (rev. ed.). Princeton, NJ: Women on Words and Images.Google Scholar
  84. Wright, V. (1976–1977). Hidden messages: Expressions of prejudice.Interchange, 7 54–62.Google Scholar
  85. Zalk, S. R., & Katz, P. A. (1978). Gender attitudes in children.Sex Roles, 4 349–357.Google Scholar
  86. Zuckerman, D. M., & Sayre, D. H. (1982). Cultural sex-role expectations and children's sex-role concepts.Sex Roles, 8 853–862.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan M. Ochman
    • 1
  1. 1.Murdoch UniversityPerthWestern Australia

Personalised recommendations