The purposes of the present study were to examine the relation of elementary-school girls' and boys' height and weight to (a) teachers' and peers' perceptions of the children's independence and academic, athletic, and social competence; and (b) children's achievement test scores and grades. Teachers rated kindergarteners' through fourth graders' competence both at the beginning of the school year and four months later; first and third graders rated their peers' competence once midyear. In general, size and/or bulk were positively related to teachers' attributions of competence, grades, and achievement test scores for boys, especially for the older boys. Heaviness was negatively related to teachers' ratings of females' competence (especially athletic competence and especially for older girls). Moreover, large size (height not controlling for weight) was positively related to younger but not older children's nominations of males for athletic ability. The results are discussed in terms cultural stereotypes and their implications for the development of children's competence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology