Gender-Typed Play and Social Abilities in Boys and Girls: Are They Related?

Gender-Typed Play and Social Abilities in Boys and Girls: Are They Related? In the present study, we tested whether children’s play with feminine toys is related to social abilities in which girls typically excel. We measured gender-typed toy play, empathy, and comforting skill in 80 Grade 1 children (about 6 years-old) in Hong Kong, China. Toy play was assessed with a standard observational paradigm; empathy, with the Empathy Quotient-Child Questionnaire; and comforting skill, with an infant-cry paradigm requiring the generation of comforting strategies. As predicted, boys and girls differed in their preferences for play with masculine and feminine toys, but not for gender-neutral toys. Importantly, toy play was related to comforting skill. Girls scored higher on the comforting task, and girls who played more with feminine toys and boys who played more with gender-neutral toys generated more comforting strategies. Regression and mediational analyses also suggested a stronger role of gender-typed play on comforting than the other way round. Contrary to hypothesis, there was no gender difference in empathy, and no relationship between empathy and toy play. These results extend previous understandings of the link between play and development and suggest that early gender-typed experiences may have long-term consequences for the development of some social skills. Sex Roles Springer Journals

Gender-Typed Play and Social Abilities in Boys and Girls: Are They Related?

Sex Roles , Volume 74 (10) – Feb 17, 2016

Loading next page...
Springer US
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site


  • The Empathy Quotient: An investigation of adults with Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism, and normal sex differences
    Baron-Cohen, S; Wheelwright, S

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.



billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial