Sex-typing behavior and sex-typing pressure in child/parent interaction

Carol Nagy Jacklin, Janet Ann DiPietro, Eleanor E. Maccoby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The sex-typing of children and the sex-typing pressure of parents was investigated during free play in a home visit. There were 30 male and 24 female 45-month-olds observed with their mothers and fathers in separate free-play sessions during which an array of both sex-stereotyped and neutral toys were available. Behavioral observations were recorded for a variety of parent, child, and dyadic behaviors, including initiations of sex-typed play, total sex-typed play, and rough-and-tumble play. Children initiated sex-typed play and played with sex-appropriate toys. Father-child and mother-daughter dyads were more likely to engage in thematic play appropriate to the child's sex, while in mother-son dyads equal amounts of masculine and feminine play occurred. In addition father-son dyads displayed the highest levels of rough-and tumble play and arousal of child by parent. The results suggest that fathers are the discriminating influence on sex-appropriate play.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-425
Number of pages13
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • differential socialization
  • parent/child interaction
  • sex typing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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