Gender differences in children’s toy interests are among the largest in the psychological literature. Parents are often the primary purchasers of children’s toys. In these studies, we investigated the factors that predict whether parents and prospective parents will purchase gender-typed toys for their children or future children. Prospective parents (Study 1, n = 238, 151 women, 87 men) and mothers (Study 2, n = 96) reported their retrospective childhood interests, likelihood of purchasing gender-typed toys, stereotypes about toys, and environmental versus essentialist attributions for perceived gender differences in children’s toys. Across both studies, participants reported playing with gender-typed toys more than cross-gender toys as children. They also planned to purchase gender-typed toys for their prospective children (Study 1) or their own children (Study 2). Participants endorsed more stereotypes for feminine toys than for masculine toys and indicated that they believe that gender differences in children’s interests are mostly environmentally influenced, with some biological influence. In addition, gender-typed toy interests as a child predicted the likelihood of purchasing gender-typed toys for their own children. Among women, having nontraditional interests as a child predicted the likelihood they would purchase nontraditional toys for their own children. This relationship was mediated by the endorsement of gender stereotypes among prospective parents (Study 1), but not among mothers (Study 2).
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 2, 2018
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