ERIC Number: ED373002
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Physical Attractiveness and Self-Esteem in Middle Childhood: Do Recent Life-Span Developmental Texts Perpetuate or Challenge Gender Stereotypes?
Hensley, Beth H.
This document reports on an investigation focusing on how the content of introductory college psychology texts' content related to physical attractiveness and self-esteem. The primary objective of this study was to review how recently published life-span developmental texts present physical development in middle childhood as related to traditional gender stereotypes. A secondary objective was to evaluate the integration of non-stereotyped themes related to a diversity of physical appearance, physical competence, and self-esteem. Traditional gender stereotypes evaluate male competency in terms of performance while physical attractiveness is the measure of female success. As a core component of pre-professional and professional education, life-span human development courses present knowledge about competency and self-esteem. An important question is whether the texts used in these courses challenge or perpetuate traditional gender stereotypes. This study investigates the gender content of 14 developmental texts published in the United States after 1986. In addition to reviewing the written text, the study analyzes a number of related components such as photographs, illustrations, sidebars, margin comments, summaries, and discussion questions. Preliminary results reveal that recently published textbooks contain numerous traditional gender stereotypes. However, the text and pictorial content also include many components that challenge these gender stereotypes. (DK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Atlanta, GA, April 1993).