Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joseph C. LaVoie

Second Advisor

Evan L. Brown

Third Advisor

Clemm C. Kessler III


Previous research on gender constancy with 3- to 6-year old children has produced conflicting findings regarding the age at which children are gender constant. Slaby and Frey (1075), and Thompson and Bentler (1973) indicate the presence of gender constancy at age 4, while DeVries (1969) has found that gender constancy is not present until age 6. The aim of this study was to compare the three gender constancy measures using the same population of children. The subjects were 63 white, middle-class 3- to 6-year old children whose IQ's were 100 or greater. The data analyses generally supported' previous findings for each measure with respect to the age at which gender constancy appeared. Constancy was present in 6-year olds on the DeVries measure, but 4-year olds were found to have constancy using the Slaby and Frey and Thompson and Bentler measures. No significant sex, IQ or birth order effects were present. The age differences for the three scales suggest that each measure is assessing a different aspect of gender constancy. The Slaby and Frey and Thompson and Bentler measure seem to be assessing conservation of identity (i.e., conservation of the individuality of a quantity across transformations). The DeVries measure, in contrast, seems to assess a construct related to Piagetian conservation of equivalence (i.e., the invariance of the quantitative relation across transformations).

Included in

Psychology Commons