Gender Stereotypes in Families: Parents’ Gender Roles and Children’s Aspirations

Psychologists have paid significant attention to gender stereotypes, and many important trends have been identified and evaluated. Researchers use various methodologies to address the issues related to gender stereotypes. This paper dwells upon the study implemented by Croft, Schmader, Block and Baron (2014) with a focus on the methodology used. Croft et al. (2014) explore the correlation between parents’ implicit and explicit beliefs and behaviors related to home roles and their children’s beliefs concerning gender roles and future professional aspirations. This paper includes the evaluation of the research design, methodology, sampling procedures and samples, data collection and data analysis procedures used in the study mentioned above.

Description and Evaluation of the Research Methodology, Approach, and Design

The study in question is based on the quantitative research approach. This approach enables researchers to check a hypothesis and provide statistical evidence to support or refute a theory (Fife-Schaw, 2012a). Importantly, quantitative data obtained during such studies help researchers identify the extent to which this or that trend is persistent in the society. The use of the quantitative approach is beneficial for the study in question as it helps to check the hypothesis. The researchers hypothesize that “implicit gender-role associations and observable behaviors” predict children’s views on gender roles “irrespective of parents’ explicit gender beliefs” (Croft et al., 2014).

The researchers also focused on the way children’s gender and their parents’ explicit and implicit beliefs, as well as behaviors, affected their professional aspirations. Croft et al. (2014) found that explicit as well as implicit beliefs of parents affected explicit and implicit beliefs of their children and had a significant impact on their children’s professional aspirations. Importantly, the assumptions and some existing data on gender stereotypes within families acquired a particular quantitative background.

The research methodology chosen helps the researchers to address the hypothesis formulated. The samples completed computerized measures that allowed identifying the participants’ implicit and explicit beliefs. The self-report methodology has proved to be effective for the identification of people’s beliefs (Croft et al., 2014). Breithaupt and Hare (2015) stress that computerized measures have acquired significant popularity among researchers as they are associated with the opportunity to collect and test a vast amount of data. When applied to self-reporting, such tests provide an opportunity to identify implicit as well as explicit beliefs of participants, which was one of the central goals of the research in question.

Croft et al. (2014) also utilize an effective research design. They employ the correlational research design that focuses on the identification of the correlation between variables. In this case, the correlation between parents’ and their children’s beliefs was measured. Fife-Schaw (2012b) notes that correlational studies do not simply identify a trend or describe it but elicit the correlation between different variables supporting the conclusions with the quantifiable data. Croft et al. (2012) aimed at revealing the cause-effect relationships between parents’ and their children’s ideas concerning gender roles. The correlational study is the best way to address this issue.

Description and Evaluation of the Sample and Sampling Procedures

The study included 326 children and 344 adults. The children were aged between seven and 13 years old. Children of both genders were recruited (52% of males). As for adults, Croft et al. (2014) tried to recruit at least one of the parents. The majority of participants were females (59%) with the mean age of 43 years old. As for the ethnicity, 52% of mothers and 66% of fathers were Caucasians (Croft et al., 2014).

All the participants were approached at a local science center. The researchers aimed at using data from 300-400 children. The data collection process ended when the required number of samples was achieved. Croft et al. (2014) note that 38 children were excluded from the study as their parents did not take part in the research. Only 27% of children had both parents participating in the study. This is why the researchers had to collect data using dyads (mother-child or father-child). It is also noteworthy that 35% of children in the father-child dyad and 32% of mother-child dyad were siblings.

It is necessary to note that the samples and sampling procedures are relevant to the research goals. Croft et al. (2014) aimed at identifying the correlation between parents’ and their children’s explicit and implicit beliefs concerning gender roles. Therefore, adults and their children were recruited. The number of participants is quite significant, which makes it appropriate for the quantitative research approach. The diversity ensures the validity of data collected. Thus, apart from the hypotheses mentioned above, the study aims at identifying the way gender, as well as models’ behavior, affect children. Therefore, it is important to make sure that both genders are represented properly, which is the case for the present study.

Description and Evaluation of the Data Collection Procedures

As has been mentioned above, the data were collected with the help of computerized measure. The participants completed certain tests in a testing room or online (Croft et al., 2014). The researchers asked the samples a set of questions, and participants completed several matching tasks. These tasks were related to the distribution of household duties between parents, the work-family balance (paid hours and domestic work) as seen by parents and children. Furthermore, parents completed Implicit Association Tests (IAT) related to the gender, self-stereotyping. Children also completed the IAT to address their self-stereotyping. Finally, children were asked about their future career plans.

The self-reporting method (as well as the computerized measure) was chosen as a tool to elicit people’s ideas on gender roles. It has been employed in other studies and proved to be effective. In this study, this instrument is also relevant as it helps identify the participants’ beliefs (both explicit and implicit) as well as their behaviors. It is necessary to add that this kind of anonymity and independence encouraged participants to be sincere and precise.

Importantly, the data were analyzed with a specific focus on children’s gender, which enabled the researchers to identify the difference between the way boys and girls see their future professions. Irrespective of their parents’ views and behaviors, boys proved to be more socially dependent as they expressed more gender stereotypes even if their fathers had egalitarian views.

Description and Evaluation of the Data Analysis Procedures

Croft et al. (2014) employ the descriptive statistics to analyze and present the data. The data obtained during the matching tasks were recorded so that higher scores represented the higher degree of self-stereotyping and domestic workload. The data obtained with the help of IAT were recorded so that the higher scores represented a higher degree of self-stereotyping and “more stereotypical gender-role associations” (Croft et al., 2014, p. 3). The children’s answers to particular questions were coded as stereotypically masculine, feminine or gender neutral.

Such data analysis procedures are relevant as regards the methodology chosen. The researchers are interested in the way gender stereotypes in parents and children correlate. The analysis procedures provided quantifiable data that enable the researchers to make particular conclusions concerning their hypotheses. Croft et al. (2014) revealed a strong correlation between parents’ and their children’s gender-related beliefs.

By comparing the scores of children and parents, the researchers identified the correlation between their beliefs. Importantly, the tests allowed revealing explicit as well as implicit beliefs of people, which is crucial for the purpose of the research. The coding procedures can be regarded as an effective tool to obtain quantifiable data. The researchers managed to identify stereotypical views in children’s ideas concerning their future professions.


On balance, it is possible to note that the study in question is based on the quantitative research approach. The authors utilized the correlational research design and computerized measure to collect and analyze data. The researchers hypothesized that parents’ beliefs concerning gender roles affected their children’s beliefs related to gender stereotypes as well as their professional aspirations. The methodology chosen enables the researchers to check the hypotheses.

The researchers provide quantifiable data to support their claims. They reveal a strong correlation between parents and their children’s gender-related beliefs. Importantly, it is clear that the methodology is efficient when the correlation between variables is the focus of the research. It is also necessary to add that the study in question can be regarded as an illustration of an effective quantitative research that is based on efficient methods and instruments.


Breithaupt, K., & Hare, D. (2015). Automated test assembly. In F. Drasgow (Ed.), Technology and testing: Improving educational and psychological measurement (pp. 128-142). New York, NY: Routledge. Web.

Croft, A., Schmader, T., Block, K., & Baron, A.S. (2014). Psychological Science, 1-14. Web.

Fife-Schaw, C. (2012a). Introduction to quantitative research. In G.M. Breakwell, J.A. Smith & D.B. Wright (Eds.), Research methods in psychology (pp. 17-39). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Web.

Fife-Schaw, C. (2012b). Quasi-experimental designs. In G.M. Breakwell, J.A. Smith & D.B. Wright (Eds.), Research methods in psychology (pp. 75-93). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Web.

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