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A child’s sex and age as predictors of the total time spent engaging in sex-specific toy play

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  1. Abstract.
  2. Method.
  3. Materials.
  4. Procedure.
  5. Results.
  6. Discussion.

This naturalistic observational study examined the effect of a child's sex and age with regard to how long comparatively that child is likely to engage in the three established categories of sex-specific toy play: male sex-specific toy play, female sex-specific toy play, and neutral toy play. Ten male and ten female subjects of ages ranging from 21.5 to 38 months were observed for ten minutes each during the free-play period, being coded for the total time they spent engaged in the various categories of toy play. Various ANOVAs, pairwise comparisons, and paired sample t-tests were then conducted, revealing the most significant result to be that age significantly predicts the total time a child is likely to engage in male sex-specific toy play. More specifically, younger children are more likely to spend more time engaged in male sex-specific toy play than older children, and, even further, younger male subjects are more likely to spend significantly more time in male sex-specific play than older male subjects. Additionally, the results found that overall sex is a marginally significant predictor of the total amount of time boys and girls are likely to spend in male sex-specific toy play.

[...] Letters to Santa Claus: Elementary school-age children's sex-typed toy preferences in a natural setting. Sex Roles 159-163. Eisenberg, N., Tryon, K., & Cameron, E. (1984). The relation of preschoolers' peer interaction to their sex-typed toy choices. Child Development 1044-1050. Green, V. A., Bigler, R., & Catherwood, D. (2004). The variability and flexibility of gender- typed toy play: a close look at children's behavioral responses to counter stereotypic models. Sex Roles 371-386. O'Brien, M. & Huston, A. C. (1985). Development of sex-typed [...]


[...] Several limitations occurred in our study which may have contributed to our general lack of significant results concerning age and sex predicting the total time a child is like to spend in male sex-specific toy play, female sex-specific toy play, and neutral toy play. Firstly, similar to the Eisenberg, Tryon, and Cameron study, the Toddler Center playroom in which our observations were done suffered from unequal proportions of toys from each of the established toy categories. Had there been equal amounts of male sex-specific toys, female sex-specific toys, and neutral toys, perhaps the results would have indicated more significance. [...]


[...] The researchers coded the children on total time spent toys their sex-typed as being either or but also coded the children on such factors as ?prior interaction,? defined as the number of same-sex peers in contact with the particular child prior to his or her approach of a particular toy within a period of five seconds, and ?movement toward defined as the number of peers in the company of the child in either self-initiated or other-initiated movement toward a toy. [...]

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