The role of brothers and sisters in the gender development of preschool children.


The study examined whether the sex of older siblings influences the gender role development of younger brothers and sisters of age 3 years. Data on the Pre-School Activities Inventory, a measure of gender role behavior that discriminates within as well as between the sexes, were obtained in a general population study for 527 girls and 582 boys with an older sister, 500 girls and 561 boys with an older brother, and 1665 singleton girls and 1707 singleton boys. It was found that boys with older brothers and girls with older sisters were more sex-typed than same-sex singletons who, in turn, were more sex-typed than children with other-sex siblings. Having an older brother was associated with more masculine and less feminine behavior in both boys and girls, whereas boys with older sisters were more feminine but not less masculine and girls with older sisters were less masculine but not more feminine.