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Development of Gender Attitude Traditionality Across Middle Childhood and Adolescence


  • This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (R01-HD32336), Susan M. McHale and Ann C. Crouter, Co-PIs. The authors are grateful to their collaborators: Christina Chhin, Kelly Davis, Aryn Dotterer, Melissa Fortner, Heather Helms, Kristen Johnston, Marni Kan, Ji-Yeon Kim, Mary Maguire Klute, Jaime Marks, Ashleigh May, Carolyn Ransford, Lilly Shanahan, Cindy Shearer, Corinna Jenkins Tucker, Kim Updegraff, and Megan Winchell and to the dedicated parents and youth who participated in the research.

concerning this article should be addressed to Ann C. Crouter, Social Science Research Institute, 601 Oswald Tower, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16801. Electronic mail may be sent to


The development of gender attitudes in 402 youth (201 firstborn and 201 secondborn siblings) in 201 European American families was examined using data collected on seven occasions across 9 years. Pooling across siblings and using multilevel modeling, we examined gender attitude development from ages 7 to 19. Consistent with an ecological perspective, the combined effects of individual (i.e., sex, age, birth order) and contextual (i.e., parents' gender attitudes, sibling sex) characteristics predicted patterns of change. Although most youth declined in traditionality, the attitudes of firstborn boys with brothers and traditional parents became more traditional over time. No one longitudinal pattern captured the development of gender attitudes; trajectories varied as a function of contextual and personal characteristics.