Engagement with gender atypical peers : an investigation of tolerance, gender attitudes and school ethos

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Knox, Paul
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Friendship is a crucial element to the healthy psychosocial development of children. Research has illustrated the negative attitudes and stressors gender atypical children can encounter due to displaying gender non-normative behaviour. Consequently the levels of engagement of boys with gender atypical peer’s demands closer attention. Current research into the peer friendships of boys suggests stereotypes have a strong negative effect on gender atypical peers. A cross-sectional study was carried out with participant boys across two school types (Educate Together and Catholic schools). Two vignettes were presented in order to assess willingness to engage with gender typical and atypical peers. Results showed a significant difference between participants willingness to engage with a gender typical peer over an atypical peer. Participant responses were constant across both school types, suggesting primary school ethos does not play a significant altering role in levels of willingness to engage with gender atypical peers, but are mediated by other factors. Author keywords: Gender, ethos, gender attitudes