SEX ROLE STEREOTYPES IN ITALIAN CHILDREN*

Authors:
Vanda Lucia Zammuner
Published Online:
27 Sep 2007
DOI:
10.1080/00207598208247431
Pages:
43-63
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 17 Issue 1-4

Additional Options

45 boys and 39 girls, aged 10 to 11 years, attributed actions and qualifiers to the categories of men (M), women (F), or both sexes (N). Results showed that qualifiers were categorized differentially more often than actions; both sexes attributed a higher amount of stimuli to the same‐sex category; positive stimuli were categorized as descriptive of the same‐sex group more frequently than negative ones. In general, however, children judged roughly 50% of all stimuli in each set as N. Girls expressed a differential judgement slightly less often than boys. Children attending a ‘progressive’ school in one instance were less stereotyped than those attending a ‘traditional’ school. The judgements children expressed were consistent across the two sets of stimuli. A high within and between group variability of categorization was noted. Multidimensional Scaling analyses of proximity matrices showed groups to differ in terms of the amount and type of clustering of stimuli in the two‐dimensional space. The Masculinity‐Femininity dimension underlying children's judgement was interpreted as a ‘circumplex dimension’ rather than in terms of orthogonal axes. Results were discussed in relation to the process of sex‐role stereotypes acquisition and development. It was argued that detection of structural differences and changes in sex role perception is necessary to understand better this process.

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