The Family Context of Gender Intensification in Early Adolescence

Ann C. Crouter, Beth A. Manke, Susan M. McHale

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170 Scopus citations


This longitudinal study of 144 young adolescents (ages 9–11 at phase 1) examined the hypothesis that boys and girls would experience increased “gender‐differential socialization” across a 1‐year period in early adolescence, and that such patterns would be stronger in families in which (a) parents maintained a traditional division of labor, and (b) there was a younger sibling of the opposite gender. Longitudinal analyses of 3 aspects of family socialization (adolescents' participation in “feminine” and “masculine” household chores; adolescents' involvement in dyadic activities with mothers and fathers; parental monitoring) revealed that gender intensification was apparent for some aspects of family socialization but not others. In addition, when gender intensification was apparent, it generally emerged in some family contexts but not in others. Only dyadic parent‐adolescent involvement was characterized by an overall pattern of gender intensification in which girls became increasingly involved with their mothers and boys with their fathers; this pattern was exacerbated in contexts where adolescents had a younger, opposite‐sex sibling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-329
Number of pages13
JournalChild development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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