Gendered Social Worlds in Preschool: Dominance, Peer Acceptance and Assertive Social Skills in Boys' and Girls' Peer Groups


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Abstract

How dominance in the competitive MovieViewer (MV) task relates to peer preference and assertive behavior, and whether these relations differ for boys and girls were explored. Ninety-one preschool children in same-sex quartets were videotaped interacting in the MV task and dominance ranks were assigned according to viewing time. Peer preference was explored by looking separately at the number of likes and dislikes a child received in sociometric interviews. Multivariate analyses revealed that sex interacted with rank to explain peer acceptance but not peer rejection. High ranked boys were accepted more by peers than low ranked boys, while low ranked girls were accepted more than high ranked girls. Further analyses revealed that girls, but not boys, accepted the low ranked girls. The difference in girls' and boys' acceptance of same-sex peers who act assertively in the MV task is consistent with the notion that gendered cultures develop in the preschool years.

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