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Early childhood educators' beliefs about child behavior and adult outcomes related to gender and play


This study explored the beliefs of early childhood educators about a child's current behavior and potential adult adjustment based on a description of the child's gender and play interests. There were 451 early childhood educators from a US sample who, after reading a brief vignette describing a child's play and behavior, responded to questions related to the child's current and future behavior. Respondents also provided demographic information as well as ratings of their gender role beliefs. Results indicated that (a) educators believe strongly masculine or feminine play in early childhood predicts similar displays of masculinity or femininity in adulthood, (b) educator ratings of externalizing problem behaviors were significantly higher in the masculine play vignettes, irrespective of the child's gender, (c) ratings of internalizing problem behaviors were higher in the feminine play vignettes, also independent of child's gender, and (d) there were few differences in ratings between gender role conforming and gender role nonconforming children. However, the gender role nonconforming boy was rated as more likely to contemplate suicide as an adult compared to the gender role nonconforming girl and the gender role conforming boy and girl. Educators' beliefs about gender‐ related constructs and recommendations for future practice and research were discussed. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
New York; Ohio; Texas

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