Sex differences in the relation of children's height and weight to academic performance and others' attributions of competence

Carolyn Villimez, Nancy Eisenberg, James L. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-681
Number of pages15
JournalSex Roles
Volume15
Issue number11-12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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