Assessment and Treatment of Childhood Gender Problems

  • George A. Rekers


Sex-role development and the normal processes of gender identification have been investigated by child psychologists for several decades (Maccoby, 1966; Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974; Mischel, 1970; Mussen, 1969). Normal boys occasionally display behaviors that are socially assigned to girls and women, such as using cosmetics or wanting to nurse and bear children. Similarly, but with considerably less risk of social disapproval in our American society, girls sometimes behave as boys and will be referred to as tomboys. This exploration and flexibility of sex-typed behavior, typical of many boys and girls, is a part of the normal socialization process. On rare occasions, however, behavior that may have begun as a curiosity-induced exploration of sex-role stereotypes becomes a compulsive, excessive, and persistent pattern. One such example is the pathological hypermasculinity of boys who are destructive, independent, belligerent, uncontrolled, or aggressive to the point of interpersonal violence and lack gentleness or sensitivity to others (Harrington, 1970). These exaggeratedly “masculine” boys may come to the attention of the child clinical psychologist and require psychological intervention.


Gender Identity Gender Behavior Masculine Behavior Feminine Behavior Masculine Play 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • George A. Rekers
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Fuller Theological SeminaryGraduate School of PsychologyPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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