Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Woodruff, Arnold Bond, 1920-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Masculinity; Femininity; Sex role; Self-perception in children


The purpose of this study was to construct a new inventory for preschool children that assesses sex-role orientation. The inventory measures degrees of Interest along both masculinity and femininity dimensions. To show the utility of the instrument, the following variables were examined: child value orientation, parental sex-role orientation, parental value orientation, and parental discipline emphasis. The subjects in the study were 88 four and five year old children (44 boys and 44 girls) and their parents. The child's value orientatipn was determined using Olejnik's procedure (1971). Sex-role orientation was determined by a newly constructed 20-item Child Sex-Role Inventory (CSRI). The CSRI is a toy evaluation inventory with four response alternatives for each item from "don't want to play with it at all" to "want to play with it very much." Based on total masculine and feminine scores, the child was classified as sex-typed, sex-reversed, androgynous, or undifferentiated. The CSRI had average split-half reliabilities of .86 for girls on masculine items, .83 for girls on feminine items, .51 for boys on masculine items, and .79 for boys on feminine items. Seventy-four parents completed a value orientation questionnaire (Olejnik, 1971) and a Sex-Role Inventory (Bern, 1974). The findings suggested the CSRI has good reliability and item consistency and demonstrates sex differences in sex-role orientation in preschool children consistent with those reported in previous research. Also, child value orientation, parental sex-role orientation, and parental value orientation appeared to be significantly related to sex-role orientation in preschool children. The usefulness of this instrument in research with young children was evaluated. The finding that girls' masculine and feminine scores demonstrated more dependence than boys' masculine and feminine scores was related to earlier research; value orientation in children was explained in terms of their behavioral flexibility and the extent to which cultural standards serve as behavioral norms; parental sex-role orientation was thought to influence parental modeling and behavioral standards; and parental value orientation was thought to influence the child's behavioral identification with the parents.


Includes bibliographical references.


vii, 79 pages




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