Gender stereotypes and children's attitudes towards males and females in sport

Howat, Douglas James (1998) Gender stereotypes and children's attitudes towards males and females in sport. Doctoral thesis, University of Northumbria at Newcastle.

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Along with other researchers, the Sports Council (1994b) has highlighted the negative influence of gender stereotypes on female involvement in sport. The aim of the present research was to investigate children's stereotypes of, and attitudes towards, males and females in sport. A series of five related studies was conducted. Four of these studies were based on a disguised attitude measure, the Goldberg paradigm (Goldberg, 1968). Participants were presented with a questionnaire that included a brief description of a character whose sex and sport participation, unbeknownst to the participants, were varied across the conditions. Participants were asked to rate the characters on a variety of dependent measures that were designed to allow differential evaluations of the male and female characters. In Studies One and Two, evidence of gender stereotyping and sport stereotyping was apparent but, contrary to expectations, the data did not indicate that the children negatively evaluated the female sports participant. In Study Three, a sample of parents was presented with the same questionnaire as used in Study Two. Their responses echoed those of the children in the first two studies. Study Four employed semi-structured interviews, the transcripts of which were analysed qualitatively, to directly assess children's attitudes. In contrast to the first two studies, the children demonstrated strongly-held negative attitudes towards males and females taking part in sports that were not considered
appropriate for their sex. Evidence was found to suggest that participants were, in line with social judgeability theory (Leyens et al., 1993), respecting social norms when
making judgements of other people. Study Five attempted to explicate the results of the previous four studies by again employing a questionnaire based on the Goldberg paradigm. However, Study Five provided no evidence to support the predictions of social judgeability theory. While taken together the results of the five studies were inconclusive, it is argued that social judgeability theory remains a plausible explanation of the findings and that future research should continue to examine this perspective. However, it is argued on theoretical and methodological grounds that future researchers should be wary of using the Goldberg paradigm and that interviews may be a more fruitful way to assess gender stereotypes in sport.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis digitised by the British Library e-thesis online service, EThOS.
Subjects: C800 Psychology
L300 Sociology
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 15:21
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 14:57

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