Girl's and boy's play form preferences and gender segregation in early childhood

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Abstract

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 languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPsychology of Gender Differences
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Pages9-24
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781620813911
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Lindsey, E. W. (2012). Girl's and boy's play form preferences and gender segregation in early childhood. In Psychology of Gender Differences (pp. 9-24). Nova Science Publishers, Inc..