Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. John Hill

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Lorsbach

Third Advisor

Dr. Kris Berg


This study was conducted to determine if inner city preschool boys and girls differed in either the type or amount of aggressive behaviors displayed. The question of whether teachers differed in their responses to preschool boys and girls when they behaved aggressively was also studied. A total of 180 children and 14 teachers were observed in two Head Start centers in a Midwestern city. The naturalistic observational study was conducted over a period of approximately 18 hours. Results of the study showed that boys, while making up 46% of the population, committed two-thirds of the aggressive acts. Boys and girls, however, displayed similar types of aggressive behaviors. Teacher response varied between girls and boys. Girls received no response to their aggressive acts three-fourths of the time, while boys received more frequent responses. The most common response for both boys and girls was a loud reprimand, but boys received a higher proportion of this response than girls. It is possible that such variance in teacher response could maintain or encourage different rates of aggression in boys and girls.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Special Education and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Theresa Sauser Wiehl October, 1989