Background Research on parental attitudes towards children’s gender-related behavior showed a parents’ differential treatment of girls versus boys (McHale, Crouter, & Whiteman, 2003), and a negative association between felt pressure to conform to gender norms and psychological adjustment of the children (Egan & Perry, 2001). Ruble (2008) as well underlined how the conformity to stereotypes may not necessarily be healthy. The literature also showed the importance of cultural context in these issues, and the need of conducting research about this issue among different countries (Turner, & Gervai, 1995). Nevertheless, to this day, a quantitative study about this issue on Italian families has not been published yet. This study aims to (1) test socio-demographic correlates of parental attitudes surrounding children’s gender behavior; (2) test the relation between such attitudes and parental ratings of children’s behavioral difficulties. Methods After receiving the approval of the University Bioethics Committee we recruited mothers and fathers of 464 children, aged 6-12 (M=9.55; SD=1.85). Parents filled in, upon informed consent, a set of questionnaires including a socio-demographic form, the Sex-Biased Parenting Style Scale (SB, Turner & Gervai, 1995), and the Child Behavior Checklist 6-18 (CBCL, Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001). The Italian version of the SB scale was created with the translation/back-translation method (Cronbach’s alpha .84). We tested demographic characteristics of the group of participants, differences and association between variables through descriptive and multivariate statistics; as regards reported levels of children’s behavioral difficulties, the predicting role of parental traditionality was tested through a simple linear regression model. All analyses were performed by using the software SPSS.25. Results and Conclusions Mothers showed lower levels of traditionality compared to fathers (t=4.46, p<.001); differences between attitudes traditionality towards boys and towards girls were not significant. A One-way ANOVA confirmed the effect of education on levels of traditionality of attitudes towards children’s gender-behavior both for fathers F(5,456) = 5.76, p<.001 and for mothers, F(5,454) = 8.40, p<.001. Correlations between levels of traditionality of parental attitudes and parental ratings of children’s behavioral difficulties showed a positive association between SB and the Rule-Breaking Behavior Scale of CBCL only in the girls subgroup for fathers (r=.19, p<.01) and mothers (r=.30, p<.01). The regression model, with the Rule-Breaking Behavior Scale as a dependent variable and levels of traditionality as predictor, was significant only for girls both in the fathers group (F(2,233)= 4.54; p<0.01) and the mothers group (F(2,233)= 11.42; p<0.001). Results showed that parental levels of traditionality predicted paternal (β=.19, p<.01) and maternal ratings (β=.30, p<.01) of girls’ Rule-Breaking Behavior.Our findings indicate a complex relation between parental attitudes towards children’s gender-related behavior, education level and sex assigned at birth (both of parents and of children) which needs to be further explored with interactional models. In addition, our results raise the need of understanding, through future studies, whether traditionality has an influence on the way parents appraise child behavior, or children with more traditional parents tend to react with more rule-breaking behavior to the felt pressure to conform to gender stereotypes.

Attitudes towards children's gender-related behavior in a group of Italian parents: socio-demographic correlates and association with parental ratings of boys' and girls' rule-breaking behavior

Caldarera A;Gerino E;Rollè Luca;Brustia P
2019

Abstract

Background Research on parental attitudes towards children’s gender-related behavior showed a parents’ differential treatment of girls versus boys (McHale, Crouter, & Whiteman, 2003), and a negative association between felt pressure to conform to gender norms and psychological adjustment of the children (Egan & Perry, 2001). Ruble (2008) as well underlined how the conformity to stereotypes may not necessarily be healthy. The literature also showed the importance of cultural context in these issues, and the need of conducting research about this issue among different countries (Turner, & Gervai, 1995). Nevertheless, to this day, a quantitative study about this issue on Italian families has not been published yet. This study aims to (1) test socio-demographic correlates of parental attitudes surrounding children’s gender behavior; (2) test the relation between such attitudes and parental ratings of children’s behavioral difficulties. Methods After receiving the approval of the University Bioethics Committee we recruited mothers and fathers of 464 children, aged 6-12 (M=9.55; SD=1.85). Parents filled in, upon informed consent, a set of questionnaires including a socio-demographic form, the Sex-Biased Parenting Style Scale (SB, Turner & Gervai, 1995), and the Child Behavior Checklist 6-18 (CBCL, Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001). The Italian version of the SB scale was created with the translation/back-translation method (Cronbach’s alpha .84). We tested demographic characteristics of the group of participants, differences and association between variables through descriptive and multivariate statistics; as regards reported levels of children’s behavioral difficulties, the predicting role of parental traditionality was tested through a simple linear regression model. All analyses were performed by using the software SPSS.25. Results and Conclusions Mothers showed lower levels of traditionality compared to fathers (t=4.46, p<.001); differences between attitudes traditionality towards boys and towards girls were not significant. A One-way ANOVA confirmed the effect of education on levels of traditionality of attitudes towards children’s gender-behavior both for fathers F(5,456) = 5.76, p<.001 and for mothers, F(5,454) = 8.40, p<.001. Correlations between levels of traditionality of parental attitudes and parental ratings of children’s behavioral difficulties showed a positive association between SB and the Rule-Breaking Behavior Scale of CBCL only in the girls subgroup for fathers (r=.19, p<.01) and mothers (r=.30, p<.01). The regression model, with the Rule-Breaking Behavior Scale as a dependent variable and levels of traditionality as predictor, was significant only for girls both in the fathers group (F(2,233)= 4.54; p<0.01) and the mothers group (F(2,233)= 11.42; p<0.001). Results showed that parental levels of traditionality predicted paternal (β=.19, p<.01) and maternal ratings (β=.30, p<.01) of girls’ Rule-Breaking Behavior.Our findings indicate a complex relation between parental attitudes towards children’s gender-related behavior, education level and sex assigned at birth (both of parents and of children) which needs to be further explored with interactional models. In addition, our results raise the need of understanding, through future studies, whether traditionality has an influence on the way parents appraise child behavior, or children with more traditional parents tend to react with more rule-breaking behavior to the felt pressure to conform to gender stereotypes.
3rd biennal EPATH Conference. Inside Matters. On Law, Ethics and Religion
Roma
11-13 Aprile 2019
Book of Abstracts. 3rd biennal EPATH. Conference Inside Matters. On Law, Ethics and Religion
233
234
http://epath.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Boof-of-abstracts-EPATH2019.pdf
Parental attitudes, children, gender role
Caldarera A; Molo MT; Gerino E; Rollè Luca ; Curti L; Brustia P
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1766291
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