Sex Roles

, 61:361 | Cite as

Teaching Children to Confront Peers’ Sexist Remarks: Implications for Theories of Gender Development and Educational Practice

  • Lindsay M. Lamb
  • Rebecca S. BiglerEmail author
  • Lynn S. Liben
  • Vanessa A. Green
Original Article


Elementary-school children (81 boys, 72 girls, aged 5–10 years) in the Southwest United States were taught to challenge peers’ sexist remarks to (a) improve school climate for gender nontraditional children, (b) decrease children’s gender-typed attitudes, and (c) test hypotheses linking gender identity and peer-directed gender role behaviors. Children either practiced using retorts to peers’ sexist remarks (practice condition) or heard stories about others’ retorts (narrative condition). At pretest, children rarely challenged peers’ sexist remarks. At posttest, children’s challenges were significantly more common in the practice than narrative condition. At the 6-month posttest, data showed intervention effects had become more widespread. Behavioral changes led to decreases in gender-typing of others among girls but not boys.


Gender stereotyping Peers Bullying Intervention 



The authors thank the Head of St. Francis School, Barbara Porter, as well as the many students, parents, teachers, and staff at the school, who made this work possible. The authors are also grateful to Erin Pahlke, and the undergraduate students in the Gender and Racial Attitudes Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin who assisted in data collection and entry. Finally, the authors thank two anonymous reviewers who provided especially thoughtful and detailed reviews that contributed greatly to improvements in the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsay M. Lamb
    • 1
  • Rebecca S. Bigler
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lynn S. Liben
    • 3
  • Vanessa A. Green
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustin78712USA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustin78712USA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.School of Educational Psychology and PedagogyVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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