Gender Influences on Parent-Child Science Problem-Solving Behaviors

Katherine Short-Meyerson, Susannah Sandrin, Chris Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: Gender is a critical social factor influencing how children view the world from very early childhood. Additionally, during the early elementary years, parents can have a significant influence on their child’s behaviors and dispositions in fields such as science. This study examined the influence of parent gender and child gender on 2nd- and 4th-grade children’s strategies for solving science problems with their parents, as well as their attitudes about science. The behaviors of 13 parent-child dyads as they solved hands-on science problems together in an informal setting were examined. A child interview and a parent questionnaire were used to elicit information about their attitudes toward life science compared to physical science. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of the parent-child interactions revealed differences in the amount of encouragement offered to boys versus girls. Additionally, there were differences in questioning behaviors by parents as a function of parent gender and child gender. Furthermore, parental interest in various science topics differed along traditional gender roles, whereas boys and girls were interested in topics from both disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-348
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016


  • Education
  • parent and child
  • problem solving
  • science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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