The emergence of racial and sexual preference in the choice of playmates by preschool children as related to sex, socioeconomic status and race Public Deposited

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  • The primary purpose of this study was to replicate a study of Abel and Sahinkaya which investigated the emergence of race and sex preferences of upper middle socioeconomic status Caucasian children. This study provided a good match with respect to socioeconomic status, race, and sex; however, the number of subjects in the replication group was lower than in the Abel and Sahikaya study. In addition to the Abel and Sahinkaya comparison, the study was extended to examine preference of lower socioeconomic status Caucasian children and lower socioeconomic status Negro children. In addition to the data provided for the replication comparisons three hypotheses were tested: Hypothesis I: The incidence of race preference in preschool children will not differ significantly from chance expectation; Hypothesis II: The incidence of sex preference in preschool children will not differ significantly from chance expectation; Hypothesis III: For preschool children no significant difference will exist in the incidence of racial or sexual preference. Each hypothesis was considered with respect to age, sex, socioeconomic status, and race of the subject. A Picture Preference Test designed to replicate as closely as possible the one used by Abel and Sahinkaya was used to collect data on race and sex preferences. The test included 16 black and white smiling facial photographs, 3 1/2" x 5", of children 3.5 to 5.5 years of age. Sixteen photographs were paired to make 32 pairs in which race was controlled and sex varied and 32 pairs in which sex was controlled and race varied. The statistical analysis included comparison of average group choices with a hypothetical average of 16 by means of the t-test. Results of the analysis indicated that the replication did not support the Abel and Sahinkaya study in all respects, particularly since no incidence of race preference was found in either the younger or older children, and sex preference emergence was later in the present study than the Abel study. The earlier study found that boys showed both race and sex preference and this study found neither. Both studies found sex preference by girls. In the extension test results of Hypothesis I showed only white lower status male had race preference while Hypothesis II test results showed the girls from every group, upper white, lower white, and lower Negro, showed preference for their same sex as did the older upper and lower white children and the younger lower status Negro children. The test results of Hypothesis III showed sex choices were stronger than race choices in all three groups for girls and for the younger children of both sexes in the Negro group. The socioeconomic comparisons, Group I with Group II, indicated that only the boys in the lower socioeconomic status group evidenced a race preference. With regard to sex preference the older children and the girls in both Group I and Group II showed a significant difference. The race comparison, Group II and Group III, revealed that only white boys showed race preference, Negro children did not. In race choice Negro and white younger children, older children, and girls showed no race preference. Sex preferences were observed for both Negro and white girls, but not for Negro or white boys. In addition younger Negro children showed sex preference, but the findings regarding sex preference were reversed for the older groups; white children showed a sex preference, but Negro children did not. In general the replication attempt produced some conflicting results, however, the difference in sample size probably precludes the direct comparison. In addition data for this study were collected in the Northwest, and other literature in this area suggests geographic differences may play a role in the emergence and intensity of race and sex preference.
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