The relations between sex-typed play and preschoolers' social behavior

Ellen Cameron, Nancy Eisenberg, Kelly Tryon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


For decades toy choice has been a very popular measure of children's sex-role adoption. In the present study, the relations between choice of masculine, neutral, or feminine toys and other social behaviors (sex typed and non-sex typed) were examined. The social behaviors (socializing, requesting assistance, prosocial behaviors, aggressive/defensive behaviors) and toy choices of 33 preschool children were observed in their classrooms. Only two behaviors were found to be sex typed (socializing with peers and spontaneous prosocial behavior), and both of these behaviors were related to toy choice. Toy choice was also related to helping. Among boys, masculine toy choice was associated with requesting assistance from teachers. When toy choice was classified as masculine, androgynous, and feminine, only sociability toward peers was related to toy choice. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for the continued use of toy choice as a measure of sex-role adoption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-615
Number of pages15
JournalSex Roles
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Mar 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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