Gender-related Behaviour, Attitudes, and Personality in Parents of Young Children in England and Hungary

Judit Gervai, Patricia J. Turner, Robert A. Hinde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is concerned with the extent to which “traditionality” of parents' attitudes towards the other sex are related to sex-bias in expectations regarding children and to involvement in sex-typical household tasks. We also examine each of these in relation to how parents see themselves along dimensions of “masculinity” (instrumental traits) and “femininity” (expressive traits). To obtain a wide spectrum of cultural values, comparable data were collected on parents of preschool-aged children (n = 161) in Cambridge (England) and Budapest (Hungary). Parents' personalities, attitudes, and behaviour were assessed by self-report questionnaires. Parents with more traditional views on male-female adult relations had more sex-biased expectations of their children. Furthermore, with the exception of Budapest mothers, parents who had more traditional attitudes and expectations were more gender-stereotyped in their behaviour. Mothers' sex-role behaviour in Budapest was related to their husbands' attitudes. Comparing parents according to sex and location the following results emerge: fathers were more sex-biased in parenting expectations and more traditional in their attitudes to adult relations than mothers. Sex-typical household and child-care duties were more likely to be performed by the parent of the traditionally “appropriate” sex. Budapest parents were more sex-biased in their attitudes than Cambridge parents, but less gender-typed in their role-sharing behaviour. This difference in role-sharing was related to maternal employment. These results further support the contention that the various gender-related phenomena-traits, attitudes, values, interests, preferences, and behaviour- are multifactorial. As a considerable variation has been found in parents' gender-related personality, behaviour, and attitudes, it remains to be seen whether this variation is reflected in any way in the behaviour of their preschool daughters and sons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-126
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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