British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 6 Issue 1 (March 1988), Pages 1-111

Gender as an influence in the development of scripted pretend play (pages 89-95)

The influence of gender was investigated in target children aged 3 to 4 years engaged in pretend play with gender stereotyped toys with a girl and with a boy partner. Grammatical development was assessed using MLU, and gender knowledge underlying language use was explored using Nelson's (1985) technique of script analysis.

Both girls and boys made longer utterances when playing with a girl. MLU also varied according to whether or not children produced a script; longer MLUs were characteristic of children who produced scripts although this difference was only significant when playing with a boy.

Older children produced more scripts, and during the fourth year the structure of scripts became more clearly differentiated and the roles which were defined more gender marked. At this age children recreated more female roles.

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