Four-year-olds' beliefs about how others regard males and females

Br J Dev Psychol. 2013 Mar;31(Pt 1):128-35. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-835X.2012.02084.x. Epub 2012 Sep 19.


Children's awareness of how others evaluate their gender could influence their behaviours and well-being, yet little is known about when this awareness develops and what influences its emergence. The current study investigated culturally diverse 4-year-olds' (N = 240) public regard for gender groups and whether exposure to factors that convey status and highlight gender influenced it. Children were asked whether most people thought (i) girls or boys, and (ii) women or men, were better. Overall, children thought others more positively evaluated their own gender. However more TV exposure and, among girls only, more traditional parental division of housework predicted children stating that others thought boys were better, suggesting more awareness of greater male status. Children's public regard was distinct from their personal attitudes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comprehension
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Household Work / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Prejudice / psychology
  • Prejudice / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Behavior*
  • Stereotyping
  • Television / statistics & numerical data