Child Development 138 (03) - Hembree
Social and Emotional Development
California State University, Sacramento
Spring, 2011 


Sex-Role Development

I. Introduction

A. Introduction/discussion - video clip

B. Some Definitions

1. gender-typing 



2. gender role standards


  • instrumental traits




  • expressive traits



II.  Developmental Trends in gender-typing

A. gender concept/identity




B. gender-role stereotypes

  • gender intensification at adolescence




C. gender-typed behavior  

  • gender segregation




III.  Sex differences (discussion)  

A. In groups, discuss the following questions

1)  Using your text, identify some (at least 5) sex differences found in psychological research.  Why should we be cautious in our interpretation of these results?







2) Identify some unfounded beliefs about sex differences (Table 8-2). Why do you think these myths persist in our culture?





B. Cautions about/interpretation of sex differences




C. How are stereotypes perpetuated? 





IV. Theoretical approaches to sex-role development

A. Evolutionary Theory






B. Biosocial model

1. Critical biological events +  Social factors 



3. Evidence for biological factors




4. Evidence for social factors




C. Psychoanalytic - focus on emotion and identification





  • criticisms



D. Behaviorist/ Social Learning Theory - focus on sex-typed behavior





  • Criticisms




E. Cognitive-developmental (Kohlberg) - focus on knowledge

1. Stages

  • gender labeling (preschool)


  • gender stability 


  • gender consistency 

2. Criticisms




F.  Gender-schema theory






G. An Integrated Approach 

How might we integrate these theories to get a better picture of sex-role development?





IV. Sexuality

A. Adolescent sexual attitudes





B. Sexual Orientation





C. Sexual Behavior


  • Sexually transmitted disease





  • Teen pregnancy (video)/discussion








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Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

California State University, Sacramento
College of Education
Department of Child Development

Updated: January, 2011

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