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

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.

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Ochman, J.M. The effects of nongender-role stereotyped, same-sex role models in storybooks on the self-esteem of children in grade three. Sex Roles 35, 711–735 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01544088

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Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Role Model
  • Middle Eastern
  • Main Character
  • Equal Access