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Children's Ideas about Animal Young and their Care: A Reassessment of Gender Differences in the Development of Nurturance

By Gail F. Melson, Alan Fogel

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Abstract

This study examines the effects of gender in conjunction with age, pet ownership, and sibling status on children's ideas about domestic animal young (puppies and kittens) and how they are nurtured. A theoretical model accounting for gender differences in the development of nurturance in children is presented. The model argues that children may develop knowledge about nurture from many sources, including animals, and that gender differences are most likely when behavior (versus knowledge) and baby care (versus animal care) are assessed. Ideas about animal young and animal caregiving of their young were individually assessed in structured interviews with 43 preschoolers and 42 second graders. Boys' ideas increased with age, while that of girls did not. Having a younger sibling was associated with more knowledge in boys but not in girls. Children with pets had more ideas about how adult animals cared for their young than did non-pet owners.

Date 1989
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 2
Issue 4
Pages 265-273
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.2752/089279389787057920
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal care
  2. Child behavior
  3. Gender
  4. peer-reviewed
  5. Pet ownership
  6. young animals
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed