The Role of Peers in the Socialization of Gender-Related Social Interaction Styles

The Role of Peers in the Socialization of Gender-Related Social Interaction Styles Peer socialization of gender-related socialinteraction styles was investigated. Two hundredtwenty-four fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth gradestudents (112 males, 112 females; 80% Anglo, 15%Hispanic, 5% African American or Asian) read threestories that depicted same-gender characters behaving ineither an agentic manner or a communal manner. Subjectsrated their attitude and their probable behavioral response toward the characters, as well astheir understanding of the characters' behavior aseither more “boy-like” or“girl-like.” Although both gendersrecognized the difference between the agentic and communal interaction styles,boys and girls showed different patterns ofsocialization responses. Specifically, girls had morepositive attitudes toward female peers who adopt thecommunal style and reported they would encourage othergirls to use the communal style and discourage them fromusing the agentic style. Boys, on the other hand, hadonly marginally more positive attitudes toward same-gender peers who act agentically, butreported they would behave in a fashion that runscounter to gender norms. That is, boys reported thatthey would encourage other boys to use a communal style and discourage them from using an agenticstyle. Our discussion focuses on why boys and girlsmight show these different patterns. Sex Roles Springer Journals

The Role of Peers in the Socialization of Gender-Related Social Interaction Styles

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Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright © 1998 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
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