Gender role orientation and fearfulness in children with anxiety disorders.
Research on gender differences in children's fears has generally shown that girls are more fearful than boys. A common hypothesis offered for this finding is that gender role orientations or expectations may be operating. However, this hypothesis has not been directly investigated in child samples. The present study examined the relation between a self-report measure of gender role orientation (i.e., masculinity/femininity) and the intensity of self-reported fears in a clinic sample of children (N = 66; ages 6-11; 41 boys and 25 girls) with anxiety disorders. Results revealed that masculinity was negatively related to overall levels of fearfulness as well as specific fears of failure and criticism, medical fears, and fears of the unknown. In contrast, no relation was found between femininity and fearfulness. These findings suggest that gender role orientation, especially masculinity, may play a role in the development and/or maintenance of fearfulness in children.
Ginsburg, GS; Silverman, WK
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