An empirical examination of sex differences in scoring preschool children's aggression

Anthony D. Pellegrini, Catherine M. Bohn-Gettler, Danielle Dupuis, Meghan Hickey, Cary Roseth, David Solberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Sex differences in adults' observations and ratings of children's aggression was studied in a sample of preschool children (N=89, mean age. =44.00. months, SD=8.48). When examining the direct observations made by trained observers, male observers, relative to female observers, more frequently recorded aggressive bouts, especially of boys. On rating scales assessing aggression, trained male raters also gave higher aggressive ratings than female raters. Lastly, we compared the ratings of trained female raters and female teachers on the same scale and found no differences. Results are discussed in terms male raters' and observers' prior experiences in activating their experiential schemata where males' greater experience in aggression, relative to that of females, leads them to perceive greater levels of aggression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Aggression
  • Observer bias
  • Peer interaction
  • Rater Bias
  • Sex differences
  • Sex stereotype


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