EFFECTS OF MATERNAL SEX-ROLE ATTITUDES ON CERTAIN ASPECTS OF PRESCHOOLERS' BEHAVIOR

MYRA MIRKIN SCHWARTZ, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between stated and unstated goals maintained by mothers for preschool children, and the effect of these attitudes upon children's self-concepts, dependency levels, and sex-role stereotyping. The Maferr Inventory and the contents of children's rooms were used to infer unstated attitudes; a maternal questionnaire was used to establish stated goals.^ The subjects were 48 boys and 48 girls attending suburban preschool programs. All socioeconomic levels were represented. Half the mothers were employed outside the home.^ Differences in aspiration levels mothers maintained for sons and daughters were analyzed using a t test. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the remaining hypotheses.^ Results indicated that there were no significant differences between stated goals for sons and daughters. However, unstated attitudes and behaviors were not shown to contribute significantly to the prediction of stated goals, suggesting there may be dissonance between what mothers say they want and their internalized attitudes.^ None of the maternal variables contributed significantly to self-concept or dependency level of boys; however, a high level of traditionally masculine room contents contributed significantly to the prediction of traditional stereotypical beliefs.^ For girls and for the total group, both high stated maternal goals and a nontraditional sex-role orientation contributed to the prediction of low levels of dependency, while nontraditional sex-role orientation alone was shown to contribute significantly to high self-concept.^ Supplementary analyses indicated that age of child added significantly to the prediction of high sex-role stereotypes in boys and high dependency in girls, while for the total group it contributed significantly to high dependency, self-concept and sex stereotypes, therefore raising questions about the effects of schooling. Maternal employment and education were related to stated goals and sex-role orientation; maternal employment was also significantly related to low dependency level.^ There were no significant differences between self-concept and sex-role stereotyping of boys and girls; however boys were less dependent.^ In summary, this study suggests that although mothers express similar goals for all children, their sex-role attitudes may significantly affect the dependency level and self-concept of their daughters. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

SCHWARTZ, MYRA MIRKIN, "EFFECTS OF MATERNAL SEX-ROLE ATTITUDES ON CERTAIN ASPECTS OF PRESCHOOLERS' BEHAVIOR" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8213619.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8213619

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