The effect of gender context on children's social behaviour in a limited resources situation : an observational study

Green, Vanessa, Cillessen, Antonius, Berthelsen, Donna C., Irving, Kym A., & Catherwood, Dianne (2003) The effect of gender context on children's social behaviour in a limited resources situation : an observational study. Social Development, 12(4), pp. 586-604.

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Knowing when to compete and when to cooperate to maximize opportunities for equal access to activities and materials in groups is critical to children's social and cognitive development. The present study examined the individual (gender, social competence) and contextual factors (gender context) that may determine why some children are more successful than others. One hundred and fifty-six children (M age=6.5 years) were divided into 39 groups of four and videotaped while engaged in a task that required them to cooperate in order to view cartoons. Children within all groups were unfamiliar to one another. Groups varied in gender composition (all girls, all boys, or mixed-sex) and social competence (high vs. low). Group composition by gender interaction effects were found. Girls were most successful at gaining viewing time in same-sex groups, and least successful in mixed-sex groups. Conversely, boys were least successful in same-sex groups and most successful in mixed-sex groups. Similar results were also found at the group level of analysis; however, the way in which the resources were distributed differed as a function of group type. Same-sex girl groups were inequitable but efficient whereas same-sex boy groups were more equitable than mixed groups but inefficient compared to same-sex girl groups. Social competence did not influence children's behavior. The findings from the present study highlight the effect of gender context on cooperation and competition and the relevance of adopting an unfamiliar peer paradigm when investigating children's social behavior.

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10 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 23559
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9507.00250
ISSN: 0961-205X
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Blackwell
Deposited On: 17 Jun 2009 13:59
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 12:59

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