Boys will be boys, girls will be girls, says study

April 29th, 2009 - 3:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 29 (IANS) Boys will be boys and girls will be girls, because gender specific personality traits develop along typical lines, according to a new study.
Researchers from Penn State, Hawaii and Purdue universities looked at first-and second-born siblings from nearly 200 mostly white, middle-class American families.

They collected information through home interviews conducted over seven years, activity diaries provided by the children, and saliva samples that measured the children’s testosterone levels.

Not surprisingly, girls and boys differed in their sex-specific personality traits and their sex-typed activity interests in early adolescence, with girls showing higher levels of expressive traits (kindness and sensitivity) and interest in “feminine” activities (arts and reading).

Boys showed higher levels of instrumental traits (independence and adventurousness) and interest in “masculine” activities (sports and math).

Girls’ typically feminine, expressive traits didn’t change over time. Conversely, boys’ sensitivity and warmth declined substantially across middle childhood but increased in later adolescence.

So that by 19 years, boys reported about the same levels of sensitivity and warmth as girls. For typically masculine traits like independence and adventurousness, girls showed increases only in middle childhood, but in boys, these traits rose across adolescence.

This pattern meant that by the end of high school, boys had many more of these characteristics than girls, said a Penn State release.

The study appeared in the March-April issue of Child Development.

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