ERIC Number: ED431513
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Children's Gendered Self-Perceptions: A Test of Social Role vs. Feminist Psychodynamic Theory.
Dickie, Jane R.; Eshleman, Amy K.; Borchers, Carrie S.; Hoff, Patty A.; Klimek, Jennifer L.; Nelson, Kristen L.
Chodorow's (1978) psychodynamic theory and Whiting's (1975) social role perspective yield different predictions with regard to the development of children's gendered self-perceptions. Chodorow's theory emphasizes the importance of children's progressive identification with same-sexed parents and gender asymmetry in parenting, whereas Whiting emphasized differential chore assignment within the family to explain girls' development of nurturance and boys' development of power. This study tested these theories in situations in which fathers are absent from the family. Participating was a racially diverse sample of children, ages 4 to 11 years. Subjects rated themselves, their mother, and father on nurturance and power, using illustrations of adjectives from the Bem Sex Role Inventory. Information was also collected on chores the children performed and the type of discipline administered. The findings indicated that children identified with both parents. Psychodynamic predictions were upheld when both parents were present, but when fathers were absent, mothers' nurturance predicted both daughters' and sons' self-perceptions as nurturing. For girls, the higher the frequency of nurturing chores, the more powerful they perceived themselves. The higher the frequency of agentic chores, the more nurturing they perceived themselves. For boys, agentic chores frequency correlated with self-perceptions of power. When fathers were absent, both boys and girls perceived themselves as more nurturing, and performed more agentic chores. With increasingly power-oriented discipline, girls' self-perceptions as powerful and nurturing decreased while boys' self-perceptions remained unchanged. (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A