This study was designed to examine associations between preschool children’s pretend and physical play with same-sex, other-sex, and mixed sex peers and children’s social competence with peers. Sixty predominately middle-class preschoolers (33 boys, 51 European-American) were observed on the playground at their school over a period of 4 months. Children’s same-sex, other-sex, and mixed-sex peer play was observed, and teachers and peers provided assessments of children’s social competence. Analyses revealed that children who engaged in more same-sex pretend play were better liked by peers and were viewed by teachers as being socially competent. In addition, girls who engaged in same-sex exercise play and boys who engaged in same-sex rough-and-tumble play were better liked by peers, whereas boys who engaged in rough-and-tumble play with other-sex peers were less liked by peers. The results suggest that child gender and gender of playmate are important factors in the association between pretend play and rough-and-tumble play and children’s social competence with peers.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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