The purpose of this study was to examine the differential effects of regulative and interpersonal contexts, together with the sex of the parent, on the perceptions and role playing responses of boys and girls. One hundred and six kindergarten children described and role-played a series of four pictures constructed to place a mother and father figure with a child in a regulative and interpersonal context as defined by Bernstein. We found sex- of-subject-by-context and sex-of-parent-by-context interaction effects for length of utterance when children role-played the parent figure in the pictures. When subjects also role-played the child in the picture, we found two main effects for utterance length: One for sex of parent, and one for critical context. The children indicated that mothers would mention more specific punishments than fathers, and that the child in the pictures would counter the responsibility for his/her actions more with the mother figure than with the father figure. Taken together, these results may indicate that both boys and girls, even at the ages of 5 and 6, have role expectations for fathers and mothers that allow fathers to talk more and exert more power than mothers, especially in regulative contexts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics