Sex Role Stereotypes: Children’s Perceptions and Preferences in the Realms of Play and Work

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Most of the studies presented in this paper probed the young child’s perceptions of existing conditions or social reality. It is important to recognize the difference between what is the current circumstance and what is a possibility. In these studies, the children mostly articulated what is, rather than what they can project as possible for themselves, and this distinction needs to be established on empirical grounds. Furthermore, studies that have investigated the existence of sex-role stereotypes and attitudes during the sixties and seventies may not predict trends in the eighties and it is necessary to assess the occurrence of perceived sex differences in a society radically changing in values, and to clearly document children’s perceptions and clearly define their possibilities. The present study will attempt to determine if Kindergarten through fourth grade children exhibit a knowledge of stereotypes, hold beliefs about the competence of boys and girls, and have sex-typed toy preferences when they are interviewed within a framework that also emphasizes consideration of possibilities rather than existing status.


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