Sex Roles

, Volume 39, Issue 9–10, pp 787–800 | Cite as

A Three Generational Study of Tomboy Behavior

  • Betsy Levonian Morgan


The perceptions and definitions of tomboybehavior were explored across three generations ofwomen. The sample included 521 women (primarilyundergraduates, their mothers, and their grandmothers)ranging in age from 17 to 94 who were categorized intoone of three cohorts (Generation Xers, Baby Boomers orSenior Citizens) for a final sample of 466. The samplewas 87% European American, 6% Native American, 3% Hispanic, and 2% Asian American. Sixty-sevenpercent of the sample reported being tomboys duringtheir childhood. The average age reported for startingtomboy behavior was 5.8, whereas the average age for ceasing tomboy behavior was 12.6. Agecohort analyses revealed relatively few differences butseveral interesting findings. The senior citizens tendedto differ from both sets of younger women. For instance, senior citizens were less likely toreport being tomboys than were Xers or Boomers.Directions for future research include monitoring thesocial acceptability of tomboy behavior, assessingpotential cultural differences in tomboyism, andanalyzing correlates of the average age that tomboyismceases.


Young Woman Social Psychology Final Sample Cultural Difference Generational Study 
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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

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  • Betsy Levonian Morgan

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