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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Hugh McBride

First Committee Member

David Baral

Second Committee Member

Timothy Derning

Third Committee Member

Mari Irvin

Fourth Committee Member

Alice Winczer


The purpose of this study was to examine the gender images presented to second grade students in three randomly selected second grade California state approved reading series which are currently used in the California Public Schools. Through content analysis, this study examined the following gender role variables as depicted by female and male characters in 94 stories: visibility, roles portrayed, tools/artifacts used, occupations, level of dependency, socio-economic standing, problem-solving strategies and context, and emotions and their contests. In order to establish reliability of the examiner's content analysis, every seventh story was analyzed across these variables by a panel of four independent raters. All data collected were subjected to either a chi-square analysis or summarized in frequency distributions to determine significance. The following conclusions were drawn from the results of this study: (a) male characters outnumbered female characters, (b) female characters were underrepresented in leadership positions, (c) both genders were equally depicted as followers, (d) stereotypic depictions continued in the realm of tool/implement use, (e) both females and males were shown as needing, asking for, and getting help, (f) females and males were depicted stereotypically in the work world, (g) there was improvement in depicting both genders as socio-economic equals, (h) females were shown as competent problem solvers, but in much smaller numbers than male characters, and (i) both genders were depicted as possessing and showing emotions such as fear, worry, and anger. In order to limit the impact on children exposed to such gender images, the following recommendations were made: (a) that mental health professionals consider the importance of learned gender stereotypes when dealing with child and adults clients, especially when the referring concerns deal with depression in females and aggression in males, (b) school counselors and psychologists should provide children with more balanced gender role models, (c) school boards should make the adoption of gender neutral textbooks district level policy, (d) textbook adoption committees should be provided with sensitization to gender stereotyping, (e) parents and teachers should furnish children with alternative non-stereotypic models, and (f) parents should review textbooks for gender stereotypes and to inform their school districts of the unacceptability of such materials.




0591309696 , 9780591309690

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