The Role of Categorization in the Socialization Process

How Parents and Older Siblings Cognitively Organize Child Behavior
  • Margaret K. Bacon
  • Richard D. Ashmore


Students of the socialization process have long recognized the central position of the family in the learning environment of the developing child. Cross-cultural studies, for example, have underlined the effect of variations in family structure on the experiences of children (cf. LeVine, 1970; Whiting & Whiting, 1975). Thus the extended family, the nuclear family, and the mother-child household are conceived as creating significantly different contexts for learning. Similarly, the agents of socialization available in the family unit constitute an important variable in socialization. These agents, or family members, who interact daily with the child may, of course, vary from one family to another along many dimensions (e.g., number, sex, age, personal characteristics).


Child Behavior Cognitive Structure Implicit Theory Young Brother Young Sister 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bacon M. K. & Ashmore, R. D. How mothers and fathers categorize descriptions of social behavior attributed to daughters and sons. Manuscript submitted for publication, 1982.Google Scholar
  2. Bank, S., & Kahn, M. D. Sisterhood-Brotherhood is powerful: Sibling subsystems and family therapy. In S. Chess & A. Thomas (Eds.), Annual progress in child psychiatry and child development. New York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 1977.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, R. Q., & Harper, L. V. Child effects on adults. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1977.Google Scholar
  4. Block, J. H. Another look at sex differentiation in the socialization behavior of mothers and fathers. In J. Sherman & F. L. Denmark (Eds.), Psychology of women: Future directions of research. New York: Psychological Dimensions, 1979. (a)Google Scholar
  5. Block, J. H. Personality development in males and females: The influence of differential socialization. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, New York, September, 1979. (b)Google Scholar
  6. Booth, A., & Edwards, J. N. Fathers: The invisible parent. Sex Roles, 1980, 6, 445–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gecas, V. The socialization and child care roles. In F. I. Nye (Ed.), Role structure and analysis of the family. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1976.Google Scholar
  8. Hartley, R. E. Sex-role pressures and the socialization of the male child. Psychological Reports, 1959, 5, 457–468.Google Scholar
  9. Johnson, S. C. Hierarchical clustering schemes. Psychometrika, 1967, 32, 241–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kim, M. P., & Rosenberg, S. Comparison of two structural models of implicit personality theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1980, 38, 375–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Koch, H. L. Some personality correlates of sex, sibling position, and sex of sibling among five and six year old children. Genetic Psychological Monographs, 1955, 52, 3–50.Google Scholar
  12. Kohn, M. L. Class and conformity. Homewood, Ill.: Dorsey, 1969.Google Scholar
  13. Kruskal, J. B. How to use MDSCAL, a multidimensional scaling program (version 3). Unpublished manuscript, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J., May 1967.Google Scholar
  14. Lamb, M. E. (Ed.), The role of the father in child development. New York: Wiley, 1976.Google Scholar
  15. Lamb, M. E. Paternal influence and the father’s role: A personal perspective. American Psychologist, 1979, 34, 938–943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lambert, W. E., Hamers, J. F., & Frasure-Smith, N. Child-rearing values: A cross-national study. New York: Praeger, 1979.Google Scholar
  17. LeVine, R. Cross cultural study in child psychology. In P. Mussen (Ed.), Carmichael’s manual of child psychology, (Vol. 2). New York: Wiley, 1970.Google Scholar
  18. Lytton, H. Observation studies of parent-child interaction: A methodological review. Child Development, 1971, 42, 651–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Maccoby, E. E., & Jacklin, C. The psychology of sex differences. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  20. Nash, S. C. & Feldman, S. S. Responsiveness to babies: Life-situation specific sex differences in adulthood. Sex Roles, 1980, 6, 751–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Newson, J., & Newson, E. Seven year olds in the home environment. New York: Wiley, 1976.Google Scholar
  22. Osgood, C. E., May, W. H., & Miron, M. S. Cross-cultural universais of affective meaning. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  23. Paige, K. E. Sources of sex inequality: Family, schools, personality. In S. Golden (Ed.), Work, family roles and support systems. Ann Arbor, Mich., Center for Continuing Education for Women, 1978.Google Scholar
  24. Rheingold, H. L. The social and socializing infant. In D. A. Goslin (Ed.), Handbook of socialization theory and research. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1969.Google Scholar
  25. Rogoff, D., Sellers, M. J., Piorrata, S., Fox, N., & White, S. Age of assignment of roles and responsibilities to children: A cross-cultural survey. Human Development, 1975, 18, 353–369.Google Scholar
  26. Rosenberg, S., & Jones, R. A. A method for investigating and representing a person’s implicit theory of personality: Theodore Dreiser’s view of people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1972, 22, 372–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rosenberg, S., & Kim, M. P. The method of sorting as a data-gathering procedure in multivariate research. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 1975, 10, 489–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rosenberg, S., Nelson, C., & Vivekananthan, P. S. A multidimensional approach to the structure of personality impressions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1968, 9, 283–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rosenberg, S., & Sedlak, A. Structural representations of implicit personality theory. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 6). New York: Academic Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  30. Rothbart, M. K., & Maccoby, E. E. Parents’ differential reactions to sons and daughters. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1966, 4, 237–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sears, R. R., Maccoby, E. E., & Levin, H. Patterns of child rearing. Evanston, Ill.: Row Peterson, 1957.Google Scholar
  32. Sutton-Smith, B., & Rosenberg, B. G. The sibling. New York: Holt, 1970.Google Scholar
  33. Weisner, T. S., & Gallimore, R. My brother’s keeper: Child and sibling caretaking. Current Anthropology, 1977, 18, 169–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Whiting, B. B., & Whiting, J. W. M. Children of six cultures: A psycho-cultural analysis. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1975.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret K. Bacon
    • 1
  • Richard D. Ashmore
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers—The State UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

Personalised recommendations