Sex Roles

, Volume 79, Issue 5–6, pp 342–357 | Cite as

Predictors of Gender-Typed Toy Purchases by Prospective Parents and Mothers: The Roles of Childhood Experiences and Gender Attitudes

  • Erica S. WeisgramEmail author
  • Samuel T. Bruun
Original Article


Gender differences in children’s toy interests are among the largest in the psychological literature. Parents are often the primary purchasers of children’s toys. In these studies, we investigated the factors that predict whether parents and prospective parents will purchase gender-typed toys for their children or future children. Prospective parents (Study 1, n = 238, 151 women, 87 men) and mothers (Study 2, n = 96) reported their retrospective childhood interests, likelihood of purchasing gender-typed toys, stereotypes about toys, and environmental versus essentialist attributions for perceived gender differences in children’s toys. Across both studies, participants reported playing with gender-typed toys more than cross-gender toys as children. They also planned to purchase gender-typed toys for their prospective children (Study 1) or their own children (Study 2). Participants endorsed more stereotypes for feminine toys than for masculine toys and indicated that they believe that gender differences in children’s interests are mostly environmentally influenced, with some biological influence. In addition, gender-typed toy interests as a child predicted the likelihood of purchasing gender-typed toys for their own children. Among women, having nontraditional interests as a child predicted the likelihood they would purchase nontraditional toys for their own children. This relationship was mediated by the endorsement of gender stereotypes among prospective parents (Study 1), but not among mothers (Study 2).


Gender Toys Gender-typed toys Parents Children Play Gender development 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

In submitting this manuscript, we note that the research contained therein has been conducted in compliance with the ethical standards of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Research in Child Development.

Supplementary material

11199_2018_928_MOESM1_ESM.docx (78 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 77 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-Stevens PointStevens PointUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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