The hypothesis that gender differences in children's adjustment is partially influenced by differences in temperament and interactions with same-sex peers was examined. Fifty-seven predominantly White, middle-class preschoolers (29 boys and 28 girls, M age = 54.5 months) participated. Measures were taken of children's arousability, problem behaviors, and tendencies to play with same-sex peers. A semester later, children's peer status was assessed. Analyses revealed that arousability and same-sex peer play interacted to predict problem behaviors. For boys high in arousability, play with same-sex peers increased problem behaviors. In contrast, arousable girls who played with other girls were relatively unlikely to show problem behaviors. Moreover, the interaction of arousability and same-sex peer play predicted boys' (but not girls') peer status, and this relation was partially mediated by problem behaviors. The role of gender-related processes is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies