Congruence between gender stereotypes and activity preference in self-identified tomboys and non-Tomboys

Carol Martin, Lisa M. Dinella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

The major goal was to examine a central tenet of cognitive approaches to gender development, namely, that congruence exists between personal gender stereotypes and behaviors. Item-by-item comparisons of girls' stereotypes about activities and their preferences for activitieswere conducted, for both girls who claimed to be tomboys and those who did not. Congruence was expected for all girls, but because of their gender non-normative interests, tomboys may exhibit less congruence. Asecondary goal was to examine factors that might influence congruence, specifically,whether tomboys developmore inclusive stereotypes and develop greater understanding of stereotype variability. Participants included 112 girls (7-12 years old, M age=9). Girls were interviewed about their activity preferences, beliefs about girls' and boys' activity preferences, understanding variability of stereotypes, and identification as tomboys. Tomboys (30% of the sample) and non-Tomboys did not differ in their liking of or in the number of liked feminine activities. However, tomboys showed more interest in masculine activities than non-Tomboys. Tomboys and non-Tomboys did not differ in stereotype inclusiveness, although tomboys showed a trend toward more inclusive stereotypes. Both groups showed high levels of congruence between stereotypes and preferences. Congruence was stronger for nontomboys (14 times more likely to exhibit responses congruent with stereotypes vs. incongruent ones), as compared to tomboyswhowere four times more likely to exhibit responses congruent with stereotypes versus incongruent ones. Implications of these findings for cognitive approaches to gender development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-610
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Keywords

  • Gender role behavior
  • Gender schema theory
  • Gender stereotypes
  • Tomboys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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