ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (2): 276-285.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00276

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Children’s gender stereotype threat and its interventions

WANG Zhen()   

  1. Department of Applied Psychology, Law School, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang 621010, China
  • Received:2020-02-27 Online:2021-02-15 Published:2020-12-29
  • Contact: WANG Zhen


Stereotype threat is a situational predicament where stigmatized group members perform poorly when they are judged or treated negatively based on stereotypes. There are only few studies on children’s gender stereotype threat in our country, although a large number of research on it have been performed in other countries. Exploring gender stereotype threat in children provides the potential possibility of interveneing in stereotype threat from its source. 
There are various emergence prerequisites of gender stereotype threat, mainly including category awareness, self-categorization, and stereotype awareness based on the stereotype threat model. There are still some contraveries regarding the emergence time of gender stereotype threat. Some researchers reported that children are affected by gender stereotype threat at the age of 6 or even earlier, while others claimed that children’s gender stereotype threat starts from the age of 7. This is maily due to ages of subjects, experiment materials, manipulations, and culture backgrounds, all of which need to further investigate in the future. There is no significant difference in the manipulations of gender stereotype threat between children and adults, where both have experiment groups including the blatant and subtle activation, and control groups including the nullify and not nullify stereotype threat. According to the different targets, gender stereotype threat can be divided into the effect of gender-math stereotypes on girls’ math performance and the effect of gender-reading stereotypes on boys’ reading performance, respectively. Researchers have found that gender stereotype threat can decrease children’s performance in the threat situation, even losing their confidence and interest in this filed, finally giving up and devoting themselves to other fields. Therefore, researchers have explored a variety of interventions into children’s gender stereotype threat to attenuating those negative consequences, such as priming children’s multiple identities, building the feeling of chauvinism, providing positive roles and counter-stereotypes.
Nowadays, thhere are several limitations associated with children’s gender stereotype threat currently. (1) Previous studies on children’s gender stereotype threat were mainly conducted in the western culture contexts, while less being conducted in eastern culture contexts. Compared with western cultures, does the Chinese traditional cultures such as “men are superior to women”, and the liberal arts system from senior high school deepen Chinese children’s gender stereotype threat? (2) Previous studies on children’s gender stereotype threat were mainly focused on girls, while overlooking the study on boys. Only a few studies explored the effects of gender-reading stereotypes on boys’ reading performance, Compared with a great deal of studies on the effects of gender-math stereotypes on girls’ math performance. Moreover, the gaps between boys’ and girls’ reading performance have been increasing in recent years. Threfore, much more attention would be paied to the effects of gender stereotype threat on boys’ reading performance. (3) Previous studies on interventions of children’s gender stereotype threat lack ecological validity and have few types. Future studies of interventions should be “moved out” the laboratory and be manipulated in children’s classrooms and schools instead, improvng the ecological validity. Additionally, according to the interventions of adults’ gender stereotype threat, researchers should explore more novel interventions of children’s gender stereotype threat. (4) Previous studies on children’s gender stereotype threat mainly focused on the gender stereotypes, while overlooked other stereotyped domain. Future research can pay attention to the effects of racial stereotype threat, ethic stereotype threat, and academic discipline stereotype threat on children. 

Key words: children, gender stereotype threat, manipulation, interventions

CLC Number: