Gender-Role Stereotyping: Testing Theory with a Longitudinal Sample

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Abstract

Gender-role stereotyping by children has a research literature which dates back 25 years. This article reviewed studies which examined children's occupational choice or gender assignmentto a listof occupations called a fixed-response format. Also reviewed were studies in which children were given a free-choice response capability in which they were asked to identify their occupational aspirations. Trends and changes in children's occupational stereotyping over the years were identified. Unlike 20 years ago, recent studies found that girls identify a greater number of different occupational aspirations than do boys. New data, which was collected from a longitudinal sample of over 200 elementary school children examined in the second, fourth, and sixth grades, is also presented. Eighty-six percent of the sample was white and the majority of the non-white sample was Hispanic. Hypotheses from Gottfredson's theory of circumscription and compromise and social learning theory were tested with support found for each.

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