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Preschoolers’ gender-typing of self and others in family context

Işık, Hatice
The current study aims to examine preschoolers’ gender-typing of self and others in the family context. With this aim, three different but complementary studies were conducted. In the first study, mother-child-father triads’ gender stereotypes for the child in the family (self-referenced) vs. a random child (other-referenced) were examined via thematic analysis (Ntriads = 40). Participants’ answers were grouped under gender-consistent, gender-inconsistent, and gender-neutral themes. Although the content did not change for self-referenced and other-referenced information, Linear Mixed Model analyses revealed that fathers and children are more flexible while they are talking about the child in the family. Those themes were used to develop the Parents’ Gender-stereotypical Beliefs about Children Scale (PGBC; N = 597) in the second study. The factor analyses supported four-factor structure, including masculine behaviors expected from boys, not expected from girls and feminine behaviors expected from girls, not expected from boys. In the third study, four different models were tested via path analyses to examine the predictive role of the PGBC scale, division of chores, and childcare on preschoolers’ gender-typing of self and others. Data were collected via home visits (Ntriads = 152). Both parents’ firmer gender-stereotypical beliefs and mothers’ higher perceived responsibility in chores predicted less flexibility in gender stereotypical attitudes. Further, fathers’ higher responsibility in chores predicted less gender-stereotypical personal interest. The current study contributed to the existing literature by examining personal and attitude differences in children’s gender stereotypes and the predictive role of both parents in this process by blending quantitative and qualitative methods.