Date of Award
Max Weisbuch, Ph.D.
Ecological approach, Gender roles, Gender roles in childhood
In the present work, I summarize extant theories and evidence on how children learn about gender roles and test an ecological framework for gender-role learning (i.e., the Gendered Ecology Model). Existing theory has demonstrated that children begin to form symbolic representations of gender as young as 9 months and acquire basic gender stereotypes about behaviors and activities considered appropriate for each gender by 3 years. Theories have proposed several potential sources and moderators of how children learn about the roles that women and men generally hold. However, no theories have examined these sources from an ecological approach, leaving open the question of how the prevalent cultural patterns children encounter inform their gender-role beliefs. I first, therefore, review existing theories of gender-role learning, then discuss evidence regarding the way that children learn about gender, and then propose a framework for quantifying and causally examining the influence of cultural patterns on children (i.e., the Gendered Ecology Approach; GEA). Finally, I conducted a series of studies to quantify the patterns of nonverbal behavior found in children's nonverbal environments and test their causal influence on children's gender-role beliefs and behavior. Results indicate an ecological pattern of televised nonverbal bias in which gender stereotypical characters are treated more positively than gender counterstereotypical characters which reinforces girls' beliefs about gender roles and causes them to present themselves as less competent to peers.
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Lamer, Sarah Ariel, "The Cultural Transmission of Gender Roles in Childhood" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1592.
Received from ProQuest
Sarah Ariel Lamer