Gender and Temperament in Young Children’s Social Interactions

Carol Lynn Martin, Richard A. Fabes and Laura D. Hanish

in The Oxford Handbook of the Development of Play

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195393002
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Gender and Temperament in Young Children’s Social Interactions

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Understanding social interactions occurring in young girls’ and boys’ lives has long been a topic of interest. During the preschool years, children become increasingly social and spend less time alone. However, young children do not interact with all available peers equally; rather, they narrow their social fields toward a selective set of peers. As such, children interact with some peers frequently, with some peers occasionally, and they rarely or never interact with other peers. In the present chapter, we review the powerful role that gender plays in young children’s social interactions and explore the factors that contribute to it, with particular attention paid to temperamental factors that affect the degree to which children engage in gender-segregated interactions. We present some new data highlighting the importance of considering dispositional regulation as a factor that influences the patterns of children’s interactions. Directions for future research also are identified.

Keywords: Keywords; Gender; gender segregation; temperament; social interactions; young children.

Article.  12392 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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