This chapter describes a study designed to examine associations between preschool children's pretend and physical play with same-sex, other-sex, and mixed sex peers. One-hundred-sixty-seven predominately middle-class preschool children (89 boys and 78 girls, M age in months = 57.61) were observed on the playground at their school over a period of 4 months. Children's same-sex, other-sex, and mixed-sex peer play was recorded. Analyses revealed that both boys and girls spend the majority of their time playing with same-sex peers. Girl's same-sex peer play was characterized predominately by fantasy and sociodramatic play, whereas boy's same-sex peer play was made up of exercise play, fantasy play, and rough-and-tumble play. Boys engaged in more rough-and-tumble play with same-sex peers than girls, whereas girls engaged in more sociodramatic play with same-sex peers than boys. There was no difference in the amount of time that boys and girls spent in other-sex and mixed-sex peer play. When both boys and girls engaged in play with other-sex peers it was most frequently exercise play. When girls and boys engaged in play in mixed-sex peer groups it was most frequently sociodramatic play and exercise play. The results suggest that play form is an important element in children's tendency to play with same-sex, other-sex, and mixed-sex peer groups.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Psychology of Gender Differences|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers, Inc.|
|Number of pages||16|
|State||Published - Aug 1 2012|
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