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Self-Perceived Gender Typicality, Gender-Typed Attributes, and Gender Stereotype Endorsement in Elementary-School-Aged Children

Research paper by Meagan M. Patterson

Indexed on: 27 Jul '12Published on: 27 Jul '12Published in: Sex roles



Abstract

This study examined relations among self-perceived gender typicality, gender-typed attributes, and gender stereotype endorsement with a sample of elementary-school-aged children (N = 100, ages 6–12) from the Midwestern United States. Children who perceived themselves as more gender-typical were more interested in same-gender-typed activities and occupations and less interested in other-gender-typed activities and occupations than children who perceived themselves as less gender-typical. Gender typicality was linked to gender stereotype endorsement, as predicted based on Liben and Bigler’s (2002) dual-pathway model of gender development, with children who perceived themselves as less gender-typical having more egalitarian (less stereotyped) attitudes than children who perceived themselves as more gender-typical. The observed relations between gender-typed attributes and self-perceived gender typicality and between self-perceived gender typicality and gender stereotype endorsement did not differ across gender or age. These findings indicate that even young elementary-school-aged children use their knowledge of cultural gender roles to make subjective judgments regarding the self, and, conversely, that views of the self may influence personal endorsement of cultural gender stereotypes. Although the majority of extant research has focused on negative outcomes associated with low self-perceived gender typicality (e.g., low self-esteem), this research indicates that positive outcomes (e.g., flexible gender role attitudes) may also be associated with low self-perceived gender typicality.