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Sex differences in children's toy preferences: A systematic review, meta-regression, and meta-analysis

Todd, BK; Fischer, RA; Di Costa, S; Roestorf, A; Harbour, K; Hardiman, P; Barry, JA; (2018) Sex differences in children's toy preferences: A systematic review, meta-regression, and meta-analysis. Infant and Child Development , 27 (2) , Article e2064. 10.1002/icd.2064. Green open access

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Abstract

From an early age, most children choose to play with toys typed to their own gender. In order to identify variables that predict toy preference, we conducted a meta‐analysis of observational studies of the free selection of toys by boys and girls aged between 1 and 8 years. From an initial pool of 1788 papers, 16 studies (787 boys and 813 girls) met our inclusion criteria. We found that boys played with male‐typed toys more than girls did (Cohen's d = 1.03, p < .0001) and girls played with female‐typed toys more than boys did (Cohen's d = −0.91, p < .0001). Meta‐regression showed no significant effect of presence of an adult, study context, geographical location of the study, publication date, child's age, or the inclusion of gender‐neutral toys. However, further analysis of data for boys and girls separately revealed that older boys played more with male‐typed toys relative to female‐typed toys than did younger boys (β = .68, p < .0001). Additionally, an effect of the length of time since study publication was found: girls played more with female‐typed toys in earlier studies than in later studies (β = .70, p < .0001), whereas boys played more with male‐typed toys (β = .46, p < .05) in earlier studies than in more recent studies. Boys also played with male‐typed toys less when observed in the home than in a laboratory (β = −.46, p < .05). Findings are discussed in terms of possible contributions of environmental influences and age‐related changes in boys' and girls' toy preferences.

Type: Article
Title: Sex differences in children's toy preferences: A systematic review, meta-regression, and meta-analysis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/icd.2064
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/icd.2064
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: gender differences, play, toy preference
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Reproductive Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10063722
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