Influence of Gender Stereotypes on Parent and Child Mathematics Attitudes

by Janis E. Jacobs
Journal of Educational Psychology ()


This study tested the hypothesis that parents’ gender stereotypes about mathematical ability interact with the sex of their child to directly influence their beliefs about the child’s mathematical ability and likelihood of future success in mathematics and to indirectly influence the child’s self-perceptions and mathematics performance. Approximately 400 parents and their 6th- to 11th-grade children responded to questionnaires concerning their beliefs about the child’s mathematics achievement and their stereotypes about males’ and females’ relative abilities in mathematics. Path analyses revealed that parents’ gender stereotypes interact with the sex of their child to directly influence the parents’ beliefs about the child’s abilities. In turn, parents’ beliefs about their child directly influence their child’s self-perceptions, and both the parents’ stereotypes and the child’s self-perceptions influence the child’s performance.

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