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Title: The development of sex-role behaviour in young children
Author: Wilson, Fiona
ISNI:       0000 0001 3570 1569
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1977
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This thesis examines some aspects of how young children develop sex-roles. Part I reviews the evidence for a biological basis for behavioural sex differences. It concludes that the superior visuo-spatial ability of boys may be under genetic control and that their greater propensity for physical activity might be associated with androgen levels. Part II assesses whether consistent differences in the social environments of boys and girls could cause sex-role differences. It suggested that mothers worked to the motto---'Boys will be boys, but girls must be little ladies'. The most influential psychological theories are reviewed in Part III5 to assess the extent to which they can explain the early development of sex-roles. The main conclusions from the first three parts take the form of recommendations for a different approach to the psychological study of young children. Part IV reports two experiments based mainly in the laboratory which attempt to follow these recommendations. The first developed a methodology and concluded tentatively that the way in which a mother treats her second child aged 18--24 months depends on the sex of her first born. Those with an elder son were more likely to try to emphasised their son's achievements. The main experiment, studying mothers with first or second born children aged 1/2--2 years, was designed to amplify the results of the first. It showed that both boys and their mothers avoided play with 'feminine' toys; that mothers showed more evidence of trying to display their sons' achievements, regardless of the sex, or existence of, an elder sibling; that mothers with a first born boy touched the toys more than others; and that if the children could speak they could identify the sex of pictured people, but that the girls in particular showed a male bias in their responses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available