Effects of Gender and Body Weight on Children’s Peer Choice During Physical Activities

  • Graziela de Oliveira Souza
  • Suéllen Raquel da Silva
  • Priscila Benitez
  • Eduardo Luciano de Vasconcellos
  • Daniela Maria Fornaciari
  • Camila Domeniconi
  • Débora de Hollanda SouzaEmail author
Special Section: Diversity and Inclusion


The present study investigated possible effects of gender and body weight on children’s peer choices during physical activities. Twenty-four school-aged children (12 overweight and 12 non-overweight) were observed during 2 play sessions: the 1st session consisted of 2 tests that required agility (A) and 1 that required strength (S) in an A-S-A design; the 2nd session consisted of 2 strength tests and 1 agility in an S-A-S design. Before each session, 2 participants were asked to choose members for their teams. Results suggest that peer gender is a stronger predictor of children’s playmate choices than their body weight. More specifically, children preferred to choose a peer of the same gender who was overweight rather than a peer of the opposite gender who was not overweight. However, when there was a choice between an overweight peer and a non-overweight peer of the same gender, the non-overweight child was favored.


Gender Body weight School-aged children Peer acceptance Physical activities 



We thank Ana Lúcia Aiello for her suggestions and comments.

The third author was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) during her doctoral work (Grant No. 2010/16701-0). This study is part of the research program of the National Institute of Science and Technology on Behavior, Cognition, and Teaching (Deisy G. de Souza, chairperson), supported by grants from the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq Grant Nos. 573972/2008-7 and 465686/2014-1) and FAPESP (Grant Nos. 2008/57705-8 and 2014/50909-8).


Research and manuscript preparation were funded by grants No. 2010/16701-0 (to the third author) and No. 2008/57705-8 from Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo/FAPESP. This study is part of the research program of the National Institute of Science and Technology on Behavior, Cognition, and Teaching, supported by grants from the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq Grant Nos. 573972/2008-7 and 465686/2014-1) and FAPESP (Grant Nos. 2008/57705-8 and 2014/50909-8).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graziela de Oliveira Souza
    • 1
  • Suéllen Raquel da Silva
    • 1
  • Priscila Benitez
    • 1
  • Eduardo Luciano de Vasconcellos
    • 1
  • Daniela Maria Fornaciari
    • 1
  • Camila Domeniconi
    • 2
  • Débora de Hollanda Souza
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Universidade Federal de São CarlosSão CarlosBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia sobre Comportamento, Cognição e EnsinoUniversidade Federal de São CarlosSão CarlosBrazil

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