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Cultural sex-role expectations and children's sex-role concepts

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Abstract

Middle-class children between the ages of 4 and 8 were interviewed about their sex-role attitudes, in order to determine the extent to which recently changing cultural mores have influenced children's sex-role concepts. The children were asked about their career goals; the careers they would choose if they were the opposite sex; the reasons why they like being a boy or girl; and their opinions regarding the appropriateness of men and women participating in 14 sex-stereotypic occupations and activities. The children's parents provided demographic information. The children expressed very nonstereotypic attitudes towards the 14 occupations and activities, compared to children in recent studies; but they chose very traditional careers for their own choices and opposite-sex career choices, and often gave stereotypic reasons for preferring their own sex. Parents' education, mothers' employment status, fathers' nontraditional careers, and the children's gender predict responses to several of the sex-role-related questions. Implications for research are discussed.

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Zuckerman, D.M., Sayre, D.H. Cultural sex-role expectations and children's sex-role concepts. Sex Roles 8, 853–862 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00287855

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Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Employment Status
  • Demographic Information
  • Career Choice
  • Career Goal