Factors Influencing Children’s Perception of Gender Roles and Their Psychological Impact: Evidence From Sociology and Psychology


  • Mai Khanh Tran Hanoi - Amsterdam High School
  • Sarah Olshan University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign




gender roles, cartoons, children, gender stereotypes, gender-typing toys, fairy tales, story books, parents, media


Gender stereotypes are ubiquitous and often have negative consequences. However, they are common in children’s media, toys, and stories. Awareness of these gender stereotypes can hugely influence children’s perception of gender roles. Further, family-related factors, such as familial makeup, parenting, and siblings order, may be crucial in children’s acquisition of gender knowledge, which may later affect children’s wellbeing, career aspirations, peer choices, and academic performance. In order to better understand factors influencing children’s perception of gender roles and what psychological impacts they have, we integrated findings across the fields of sociology and psychology. We reviewed literature on the roles of the media, family, toys, and stories in shaping children’s perception of gender roles across sociological and psychological journals. We only included papers discussing factors and impacts on children aged two to fourteen. The findings from this review indicate that children’s media, toys, and stories commonly portray a disproportionate distribution and stereotypical gender representation of male and female characters. Besides, familial factors can influence children’s perception of gender roles and gender flexibility. Findings underline harmful impacts gender stereotypes may have on children, ranging from mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and somatic complaints to bullying, problematic peer relations, impaired academic performance, and school misconduct. Given the prevalence of gender-stereotypical ideas embedded in parenting and children’s media, toys, and literature and their negative impacts, we should be working to reduce the adverse impact of these stereotypes on children.


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Author Biography

Sarah Olshan, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Sarah Olshan is a current PhD student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying cognitive neuroscience. Her main interests include better understanding how emotion is represented in the brain as well as how emotion and cognition interact using various brain imaging techniques (fMRI, EEG). In addition to better understanding these processes in healthy adults, she is interested in how emotional wellbeing can be fostered, particularly for those with affective conditions such as anxiety and depression.

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How to Cite

Tran, M. K., & Olshan, S. (2022). Factors Influencing Children’s Perception of Gender Roles and Their Psychological Impact: Evidence From Sociology and Psychology. Journal of Student Research, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v11i2.2996



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