Developmental differences in children′s gender schemata about others: A smeta-analytic review

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Inconsistencies that have been reported in past research on developmental changes in gender schemata actually may be a consequence of differences in the way these schemata have been conceptualized and measured. Meta-analysis was used to evaluate this interpretation of past work. On forced choice measures, in which children must select one sex or the other for each item (e.g., “Who is the strong one?”), “correct” matches to societal stereotypes increased with age. Increases were not, however, related to the type of question used (e.g., “Who is⋯ ?” versus “Who can⋯ ?”). Girls made more stereotype matches than boys, although the magnitude of the effect was small. In contrast, on nonforced choice measures, type of question did affect results. Children showed increases in nonstereotyped responses with age, but especially when asked “Who should⋯ ” or “Who can⋯ ”, and when elementary-school-aged (as well as preschool-aged) children were included. Girls gave significantly more nonstereotyped responses than boys, especially among older samples and when the domain was traits. Both the age and the sex effects in nonstereotyped responses were larger in more recent studies. IQ and television viewing were significantly related to forced choice scores, whereas television viewing, maternal employment, and memory for gender-stereotyped material were all significantly related to non-forced choice scores. Implications for the distinction between knowledge of stereotypes and attitudes toward stereotypes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-183
Number of pages37
JournalDevelopmental Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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