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. [...]
[...] Thus, with age, Schau, Kahn, Diepold, and Cherry (1980) found that both boys and girls exhibit increasing total time spent in sex-specific toy play with age, though showing itself more prominently in the case of the former than that of the latter. The strength of this internalization of sex-specific toy preference was investigated in a study involving the introduction of “counter stereotypic models” to preschool children determined as exhibiting high levels of typed play” (Green, Bigler, & Catherwood, 2004). In this study, a small sample of eight children of average age 53 months who had been labeled by their preschool teacher as exhibiting high levels of sex-typed play were placed individually in an observation room containing a set up toys deemed “masculine” and a set of toys deemed “feminine”. [...]
[...] Results It was hypothesized that age and sex could be used to predict the total amount of time a child would be likely to partake in the three established categories of sex-specific toy play (i.e. male sex-specific toy play, female sex-specific toy play and neutral toy play). To test whether age and sex predict the total time spent in male sex- specific toy play, a two-way ANOVA was conducted. The results indicated a significant main effect of age on the total time spent in male sex-specific toy play, F 16) = p = .02. [...]
[...] Discussion As the results have thus indicated, the age and sex of a child were not found to be significant predictors of the total amount of time the child is likely to spend in all of the three categories of sex-specific toy play. Specifically, the results did, in fact, indicate that the age of a child can be used to predict with significance the total amount of time the child is likely to spend in male sex-specific toy play, that is, to predict that younger children are more likely to spend significantly more time in male sex-specific toy play than older children, and more specifically, that younger male subjects are likely to spend significantly more time in male sex-specific play than older male subjects. [...]
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