Same-Gender Peer Interaction and Preschoolers’ Gender-Typed Emotional Expressiveness

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Abstract

The present study was guided by hypotheses derived from peer-socialization models of gender development that suggest preschool children’s time spent interacting with same-gender peers would be linked to gender-typed emotional expressiveness. Specifically, I predicted that girls who engaged in high levels of same-gender peer interaction would express more happiness, sadness, and fear, whereas boys who engaged in more same-gender peer interaction would express more anger. To address these hypotheses, a longitudinal study was conducted in which video recordings were made of 122 preschool children (57 boys, 65 girls; 86 European American, 9 African American, 17 Hispanic, and 10 other ethnicity) attending a University sponsored preschool program in the U.S. Southwest over a period of 2 years. Video recordings of children’s peer interactions in Years 1 and 2 were coded for involvement with same-gender peers and emotional expressiveness. Results of analyses revealed that both girls and boys who spent more time interacting with same-gender peers in Year 1 expressed more happiness in Year 2. Boys who spent more time interacting with same-gender peers in Year 1 displayed higher levels of anger in Year 2. Girls who spent more time interacting with same-gender peers in Year 1 displayed higher levels of sadness in Year 2. The findings support arguments made by the peer-socialization model of gender development that gender-segregated peer interaction contributes to patterns of gender-typed expression of emotions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalSex Roles
Volume75
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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