Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Parents' perceptions of children's behavior may vary depending on the gender of the child and the type of behavior displayed. It is important to delineate which factor(s) influence parental perceptions because parental perceptions directly influence whether or not parents respond to their children's behavior and how parents choose to manage the behavior. The present study examined how the gender of the child and the types of behaviors (internalizing vs. externalizing) the child displays affect parental perceptions regarding the severity of the behavior. One hundred and three parents of children ages 1 V2 to 5 years in the Southeast region of the United States participated by reading several vignettes, which manipulated child gender and type of behaviors (internalizing vs. externalizing). Parents were also asked to rate the severity of the behavior described in four vignettes. A demographics questionnaire, the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2000, 2001), the Parenting Stress Index (PSI-SF; Abidin, 1995), and the Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ; Sarason & Sarason, 1982) were also completed. Results indicated that parents rated the male/externalizing scenario the most problematic of all four scenarios, while the female/externalizing scenario was rated the second most problematic. Parents rated the female/internalizing scenario as the third most problematic, while the male/internalizing scenario was rated by parents as the least problematic.


Gender and Sexuality | Psychology