Skip to main content

ORIGINAL RESEARCH article

Front. Psychol., 06 January 2022
Sec. Psychology for Clinical Settings
https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.741348

Girls’ Stuff? Maternal Gender Stereotypes and Their Daughters’ Fear

  • Department of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany

One of the most robust findings in psychopathology is the fact that specific phobias are more prevalent in women than in men. Although there are several theoretical accounts for biological and social contributions to this gender difference, empirical data are surprisingly limited. Interestingly, there is evidence that individuals with stereotypical feminine characteristics are more fearful than those with stereotypical masculine characteristics; this is beyond biological sex. Because gender role stereotypes are reinforced by parental behavior, we aimed to examine the relationship of maternal gender stereotypes and children’s fear. Dyads of 38 mothers and their daughters (between ages 6 and 10) were included. We assessed maternal implicit and explicit gender stereotypes as well as their daughters’ self-reported general fearfulness, specific fear of snakes, and approach behavior toward a living snake. First, mothers’ fear of snakes significantly correlated with their daughters’ fear of snakes. Second, mothers’ gender stereotypes significantly correlated with their daughters’ self-reported fear. Specifically, maternal implicit gender stereotypes were associated with daughters’ fear of snakes and fear ratings in response to the snake. Moreover, in children, self-reported fear correlated with avoidance of the fear-relevant animal. Together, these results provide first evidence for a potential role of parental gender stereotypes in the development and maintenance of fear in their offspring.

Introduction

Sex Differences in Specific Phobia

The most prominent and robust finding in anxiety disorders is that they are twice as common in women compared to men (30.5–33 vs. 19–22%, Kessler et al., 1994; McLean et al., 2011). This ratio was also replicated for specific phobias (26.5 vs. 12.9%, Frederikson et al., 1996), and differences in prevalence rates are especially pronounced for fear of animals, as approximately 12% of women but only 3% of men report clinically relevant animal phobia (Frederikson et al., 1996). Sex differences in the prevalence of anxiety disorders emerge already early in childhood (e.g., King et al., 2000; McLean and Anderson, 2009) and continue throughout young adulthood (Mackinaw-Koons and Vasey, 2000; Muris et al., 2000). Again, differences in prevalence rates between girls and boys are most pronounced for animal phobia, as girls are at a higher risk of acquiring animal fears than boys (odds ratio: 2.03, Meltzer et al., 2009).

Interestingly, especially animals such as spiders and snakes are feared more strongly by women than by men (Frederikson et al., 1996). Generally, fear of snakes belongs to the most frequent fears worldwide (Agras et al., 1969; Curtis et al., 1998; Depla et al., 2008). The percentage of people with ophidiophobia, meaning a clinically relevant fear of snakes, is estimated 2–3% in the population. Several studies found women to report fear of snakes twice as often compared to men and women consistently reach higher scores on questionnaires assessing symptoms of fear of snakes (Frederikson et al., 1996; Polak et al., 2016; Zsido, 2017).

Theories Explaining Sex Differences in Fear and Anxiety: Biological Perspective

Previous research has focused mainly on biological explanations for sex differences in prevalence rates and demonstrates that genetic and evolutionary factors determine these differences to a certain extent (for an overview on different theories, see, e.g., Craske, 2003; McLean and Anderson, 2009). From the evolutionary perspective, error theory proposes that underestimating threat used to be more costly for women (and their offspring) compared to men (Haselton and Buss, 2000; Nesse, 2001, 2019). Thus, it has proven advantageous for the survival of women and their children to react fearful to potentially dangerous animals, such as snakes. However, fear of snakes and the sex-specific ratio still persist, even though snakes are actually harmless in some parts of the world, such as Western Europe (McLean and Anderson, 2009; Rakison, 2009). This persistence is likely driven by (phylo-) genetic factors (Möller et al., 2013). However, heritability accounts for up to one-third of the total variance of the development of specific phobias (for an overview of genetic influences, see Van Houtem et al., 2013), implying that also other factors play an important role.

Theories Explaining Sex Differences in Fear and Anxiety: Socialization Perspective

Beyond biological explanations, it is discussed that social and cultural socialization factors contribute to sex differences in fear and anxiety disorders (McLean and Anderson, 2009; Murray et al., 2009; Debiec and Olsson, 2017), as well as specific phobias (Frederikson et al., 1996; Rakison, 2009). More specifically, gender role orientation and gender role socialization are thought to play a role for the development of anxiety and its sex differences (Yang et al., 1995). Gender role orientation describes the degree to which one identifies with traditional gender conceptions and the associated personal attitudes, self-concepts, social behaviors, and career choices. It is distinct from gender itself and is conceived as dynamic and multicausal (Livingston and Judge, 2008; Pérez-Quintana et al., 2017). According to social learning theories, children learn what is supposedly appropriate for their biological sex through a process of vicarious learning, thus developing gender stereotypes over time (Endendijk et al., 2013). Gender stereotypes are defined as beliefs about characteristics, behaviors, and roles typical for women and men (Endendijk et al., 2013).

Development of Gender Role Orientation and Gender Stereotypes

According to theories on the development of gender roles (e.g., Bem, 1981), girls and boys were mainly socialized to develop gender-specific feminine and masculine behaviors and skills, respectively. Indeed, infants are already able to distinguish between male and female characteristics, such as voice or face, providing the basis for the formation of gender role stereotypes in 1-year-olds (Martin et al., 2002; Leaper and Friedman, 2007). Between 3 and 6, knowledge about one’s own gender and the gender of others consolidates and children start to form gender stereotypes (e.g., girls play with dolls, Maccoby, 2000; Leaper and Friedman, 2007). By elementary school, they have extensive gender knowledge, and rigid ideas about what males and females should be like and what does and does not fit the two sexes. This rigidity peaks between the ages of 5 and 7, and children’s gender stereotypes only slowly begin to become more flexible thereafter (Trautner et al., 2005).

Gender role concepts are shaped by family, school, peers, and media, but especially by parents, which typically have the first significant influence on their children’s behavior and attitudes, and thus on the gender socialization of their offspring (Leaper and Friedman, 2007). Parents tend to reinforce playing with gender-typical toys and encourage gender-typical activities, such as household tasks and hobbies (Antill et al., 1996). When children behave contrary to traditional gender roles, their activities often receive little support from parents (Kane, 2006; Kollmayer et al., 2018).

In addition to parental behavior and other environmental influences, there is evidence that genetic aspects explain the expression of gender role conformity or gender (a)typical behavior in children to a certain extent, as shown by family and twin studies (e.g., Iervolino et al., 2005; Alanko et al., 2010; Polderman et al., 2018).

Gender Role Orientation and Fear in Adults

Based on the findings that were mentioned above, traditional or stereotypical gender role expectations are thought to be an influential factor in the development of anxiety disorders, as anxiety and fear correspond more to the stereotypical role of females and not to the role of males. Thus, cautious and fearful behavior is tolerated or encouraged more in girls, whereas courageous and fearless behavior is expected and encouraged more in boys (McLean and Anderson, 2009). Moreover, this differential parental response to child behavior is probably more pronounced in parents who have more traditional gender stereotypes (Doey et al., 2014).

Evidence for a (direct) relationship between gender roles and anxiety comes from several studies with adults. For example, males and females with high femininity scores indicated higher (general) fear and anxiety levels compared to individuals rated as more masculine (Dillon et al., 1985). In a student sample, higher masculinity and lower femininity were associated with lower depression and anxiety symptoms in both, male and female students (Arcand et al., 2020).

For specific fear, males and females who rated themselves as more feminine were more fearful of all animals (Tucker and Bond, 1997), and this fear of animals was negatively associated with masculinity independent of the biological sex (Arrindell, 2000). In addition to self-report data, a few studies investigated the relationship between femininity/masculinity and behavioral markers of fear (McLean and Hope, 2010; Stoyanova and Hope, 2012). Results revealed that lower masculinity scores were associated with greater avoidance of a spider during the behavioral approach test, regardless of a biological sex (McLean and Hope, 2010). Similarly, a negative correlation between masculinity and anticipatory anxiety during approach was found in women, but not in men (Stoyanova and Hope, 2012).

Gender Orientation and Fear in Children

Gender roles were also found to impact children’s anxiety. In 120 healthy male and female children between 6 and 12 years, gender role identity and attitudes, as well as the intensity of feelings toward peers as indexed by an Emotional Story Task, were assessed. Interestingly, girls reported higher levels of fear than boys and gender role identity accounted for more of the variance than the child’s biological sex. Thus, both sexes with higher scores on feminine gender role report higher levels of fears (Brody et al., 1990).

Furthermore, a non-clinical sample of 209 children between 10 and 13 years and their parents completed several questionnaires to assess gender role orientation, playing preferences, as well as fear and anxiety. An association between femininity, a preference for female activities and self-reported fear revealed that gender role orientation accounted for more of the variance in fear scores than the child’s sex (Muris et al., 2005). For healthy adolescents between 14 and 19 years, it was also shown that masculinity was negatively associated and femininity was positively associated with anxiety symptoms (Palapattu et al., 2006). In addition, in a sample of children between 9 and 13 years, gender role orientation mediated the relation between biological sex and anxiety sensitivity, supporting gender role orientation as an explanation for observed gender differences in anxiety (Stassart et al., 2014). Similarly, in a clinical sample of children with anxiety disorders, higher levels of masculinity were negatively associated with levels of fearfulness and specific fears independent of the biological sex (Ginsburg and Silverman, 2000).

Current Research Question

In sum, there is strong evidence that gender role orientation and fear (behavior) are related within samples of adults, as well as within samples of children. Furthermore, it is assumed that parenting behavior is influenced, among others, by parental fears but also by gender role expectations and stereotypes (Doey et al., 2014).

However, research on the impact of parental gender stereotypes on children‘s fear is missing so far. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate this association with a special focus on mother–daughter dyads. To measure fear at different levels (Ollendick et al., 2011), we applied a behavioral approach test with a living snake to directly assess children‘s fear level and avoidance behavior in addition to different fear questionnaires from mothers and their daughters. For measuring gender role orientation and stereotypes, we administered questionnaires and a computer task with the mothers and children to include explicit and implicit measures of gender stereotypes.

We expect that daughters of mothers with gender role conforming attitudes show more fear than of mothers with less gender role conforming attitudes. This should be apparent in fear questionnaires, but also especially during the approach test.

Materials and Methods

Participants

The sample consists of N = 38 healthy girls at the age of 6–10 and their mothers. The mean age of the daughters was 7.66 years (SD = 1.28). The age of the mothers ranged from 27 to 52 years (M = 39.63, SD = 1.28). The sample comprises mothers with diverse educational backgrounds and professions. In large part, however, the mothers had university degrees (63.2%) and had an average of almost two children (M = 1.92, SD = 0.73). The majority of mothers reported that they spend most of the time with their children (84.2%), whereas 10.5% of the mothers reported that father and mother spend equal time with the children; 5.3% indicated that others, such as grandparents, spend the most time with the children. On average, the mothers reported to spend about 7 h per day with their daughters (M = 6.9, SD = 3.5).

Measures

Daughters

Questionnaires

The daughters’ level of anxiety was measured with the phobia questionnaire for children [Phobiefragebogen für Kinder und Jugendliche (PHOKI), Döpfner et al., 2006], which is a German adaptation of the Fear Survey Schedule for Children (Ollendick, 1983). It consists of 96 items that measure fear of various objects and situations on a three-point response scale (0 = never, 1 = sometimes, and 2 = often). The sum score can range between 0 and 192, whereas a high sum score reflects a high level of anxiety. The children’s fear of snakes was measured following a multimodal approach. The Snake Anxiety Questionnaire (SNAQ, Klorman et al., 1974) was used as a measure of self-reported fear of snakes. It consists of 30 statements that can be answered with yes or no. The sum score can range between 0 and 30, whereby a higher sum score stands for stronger fear of snakes.

To assess daughters’ identification with gender roles, a short form of the Children’s Sex Role Inventory (CSRI, Boldizar, 1991) was used, which consists of 10 masculine, feminine, and neutral items each. The questionnaire measures masculinity and femininity. Responses were recorded on a four-point scale ranging from 1 = “does not apply to me at all” to 4 = “applies to me very much.” The CSRI is equivalent to the Bem Sex Role Inventory (Bem, 1974) for adults. The explicit gender stereotypes were measured with the Gender-Stereotyped Attitudes Scale for Children (GASC, Signorella and Liben, 1985). It consists of 32 questions with gender-stereotypical content (e.g., Who can fix a car?) that can be answered with “man,” “woman,” or “both.” The sum score is calculated from the number of items for which a child answers “both.” This sum score can range between 0 and 32, whereby higher scores reflect less gender-stereotypical thinking.

Behavioral Approach Test

To measure avoidance behavior, the daughters completed a Behavioral Approach Test (BAT), in which they were instructed to approach a snake in a transparent box. The girls were asked to stand on a marked position around 2.5 m away from the box. The instructed task was to approach the box with the snake stepwise. The BAT consisted of the following five steps:

1. Take one step toward the snake.

2. Take another step toward the snake.

3. Stand directly in front of the box with the snake inside.

4. Hold your hands above the box for 3 s.

5. Put your hands on the locked box.

Completed steps were coded with one; uncompleted steps were coded with zero, which makes a maximum sum score of five for the approach behavior. With every step, the girls rated their current fear level on a scale ranging from 0 to 10 (0 = no fear, 10 = maximum fear). In general, the BAT is primarily used as a behavioral measure of fear in children. In a study with children at the age of 7–13, the retest reliability for the completed steps after an hour was r = 0.92 (Ollendick et al., 2011).

Implicit Measure

To assess daughters’ implicit gender stereotypes, the Action Inference Paradigm (AIP) were applied (Banse et al., 2010). In this paradigm, the participating child is instructed to help Santa Clause distribute gifts (by pressing the appropriate button) to a girl and a boy. The task starts with 20 practice trials with red and blue presents. These are followed by 32 congruent trials in which stereotypically female toys should be distributed to a girl and stereotypically male toys to a boy. In the subsequent incongruent trials, stereotypically female toys should be distributed to a boy and stereotypically male toys to a girl. During the task, reaction times are measured to determine the discrepancy between congruent and incongruent trials. Thus, the AIP reflects a child-adequate version of the Implicit Associations Test (IAT). The AIP-task was programmed and presented using Presentation (Neurobs, Inc., Albany, California, United States; www.neurobs.com).

Mothers

Questionnaires

The mothers’ level of anxiety was measured with 55 items of the Fear Survey Schedule (FSS, Hallam and Hafner, 1978). It measures fear of different objects and situations on a four-point response scale from 0 (“no fear”) to 3 (“extreme fear”). The sum score can range from 0 to 165. Higher sum scores indicate higher levels of fear.

Trait and state anxiety were assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI, Laux et al., 1981). Similarly to the daughters, the SNAQ was used to measure fear of snakes (Klorman et al., 1974).

In addition, the German version of the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI, Bem, 1974; Schneider-Düker and Kohler, 1988), a questionnaire with 40 items to survey the gender-related self-concept, was answered by the mothers. Individuals can describe themselves regarding gender-typical characteristics on a seven-point scale from 1 (“the characteristic never applies”) to 7 (“the characteristic always applies”). The BSRI provides a femininity and masculinity scale.

In terms of the mothers’ gender stereotypes, the Child-Rearing Sex-Role Attitude Scale (CRSRAS, Burge, 1981) was used to assess explicit child-rearing sex-role attitudes. It consists of 28 items on a five-point response scale (from 0 = do not agree at all to 4 = fully agree), with a sum score between 0 and 112, whereby a higher sum score indicates low manifestation of explicit gender stereotypes.

Implicit Measure

To measure implicit gender stereotypes, a gender-career Implicit Association Test (IAT, Greenwald et al., 1998; Nosek et al., 2007) was applied. It assesses to what extent the participant associates female names with family-related words and male names with career-related words. To compute a participant’s score, practice trials were included, incorrect trials were excluded, and individual SDs were used (Greenwald et al., 2003). The IAT was also programmed and presented using Presentation (Neurobs, Inc., Albany, California, United States; www.neurobs.com).

Procedure

The complete study protocol was approved by the Ethic Committee of the University of Mannheim, Germany (EK Mannheim 08/2018). The mother–daughter dyads were recruited via emails for primary schools and secondary schools in Mannheim and via press. After arriving at the laboratory, mothers and daughters were shown the experimental setups and were informed about the procedure. After that, informed consents were obtained from mothers and daughters. The study took part in three separate rooms. In one room, mothers first completed the IAT and then answered the questionnaires via SoSci Survey (Leiner, 2014). Meanwhile, the daughters answered the first two questionnaires (PHOKI, SNAQ) in a separate room with the help of a female experimenter. To hold their attention, the daughters completed the AIP at the computer before answering the remaining questionnaire (GASC, CSRI). To keep the variance due to differences in reading competency low, the experimenter read the questionnaires out to the girls. Finally, the experimenter and child entered a third room to perform the BAT. As a reward, the daughters received a certificate, sweets, and a toy. The mothers got a compensation for travel costs.

Statistical Analysis

First, we conducted correlational analyses within and between mothers’ and daughters’ questionnaires, outcomes of implicit measures (AIP, IAT) and the BAT. Second, to predict daughters’ fear of snakes, as measured by fear ratings and number of steps during the behavioral approach test with the real snake (BAT), we entered all variables with a significant relationship to these independent variables into (multiple) linear regressions. For the correlations, we used Pearson’s correlations. Correlation coefficients between 0.1 and 0.3 can be interpreted as small or weak, coefficients between 0.3 and 0.5 as moderate, and coefficients above 0.5 can be interpreted as high effects (Cohen, 1988). All analyses were performed with SPSS-21 software, and hypotheses were tested with a two-sided significance level of 0.05. Due to the exploratory nature of this study, we refrained from correction for multiple testing (Streiner and Norman, 2011). Regarding the present sample size, post hoc power analyses were performed with G-Power (Faul et al., 2009) for significant correlations between maternal gender stereotypes and daughters’ fear indices, as well as for the linear regressions.

Results

Descriptive Data

Mothers

Mothers’ trait and state anxiety (trait anxiety: M = 37.03, SD = 9.87, state anxiety: M = 34.63, SD = 8.25), as well as their reported fear of snakes (M = 7.52, SD = 6.10) were in the normal range for women (Klorman et al., 1974; Laux et al., 1981). Similarly, the total sum score of the Fear Survey Schedule indicated a medium level of average fears (M = 25.24, SD = 10.84).

The mean score on the masculinity scale of the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) for the mothers was M = 4.60, SD = 0.69, and M = 4.77, SD = 0.52 on the femininity scale. The scores did not differ significantly, t(37) = 1.43, p = 0.16. Thus, on average, the level of femininity and masculinity was relatively balanced within our sample.

Similarly, the sum score of the CRSCR indicates a relatively low level of explicit sex-role attitudes with regard to their child-rearing (M = 102.97, SD = 7.81 – see Burge, 1981).

The implicit measure, reflected by the IAT-score, is on a medium level of implicit traditional gender stereotypes (M = 0.37, SD = 0.41, Nosek et al., 2007).

Daughters

Similar to their mothers, daughters’ fear of snakes (M = 7.89, SD = 6.54) and scores of the PHOKI (M = 47.66, SD = 20.84) were in the normal range (Ollendick, 1983). The mean score on the masculinity scale of the CSRI was M = 2.73 (SD = 0.48) and M = 3.19 (SD = 0.42) on the femininity scale. Comparing both scores revealed a slight predominance of femininity within the daughter sample, which is plausible for a female sample, t(37) = 6.79, p < 0.001.

Similarly, the explicit measure of children’s gender-stereotyped attitudes, assessed with the GASC, revealed comparatively low gender-stereotypical thinking in our sample (M = 17.71, SD = 6.47; see Signorella and Liben, 1985).

The mean score of the AIP1, reflecting implicit gender stereotypes, was M = 0.63 (SD = 0.32), showing that the reactions were significantly faster in stereotypical than in non-stereotypical trials, t(37) = 12.01, p < 0.001.

Regarding the BAT, the majority of the daughters (n = 32, 84.2%) completed all five steps of the test (mean number of steps M = 4.58, SD = 1.10). The overall mean fear rating during the BAT was relatively low (M = 2.51, SD = 3.36), whereas the fear rating sum during the BAT was in a medium range (M = 12.53, SD = 14.64 with a range from 0 to 50). However, there was an increase in fear ratings from step to step. For step 1, the mean fear rating was M = 1.53 (SD = 2.49) with one girl giving a fear rating of 10, while at step 5, fear ratings of M = 3.16 (SD = 3.94) were reported, with seven girls reporting a fear rating of 10.

Correlational Analysis

Correlations Among Mothers’ Measures

Concerning the different explicit and implicit measures, we found significant correlations between mothers’ state and trait anxiety and their fear of snakes [STAI-state: r(38) = 0.387, p = 0.016; STAI-trait: r(38) = 0.453, p = 0.004]. Furthermore, trait anxiety and masculinity of the BSRI were moderately correlated, r(37) = −0.38, p = 0.018. Thus, trait and state anxiety were positively associated with specific fears, whereas higher levels of masculinity were associated with lower trait anxiety. Furthermore, there was a significant correlation of explicit child-rearing sex-role attitudes and fear of snakes, r(38) = −0.353, p = 0.030, indicating that more conservative sex-role attitudes in mothers are associated with higher fear of snakes. For all correlations, see Table 1.

TABLE 1
www.frontiersin.org

Table 1. Correlations of measures among mothers.

Correlations Among Daughters’ Measures

With regard to the daughters’ measures, there were significant correlations between general fearfulness (assessed by the PHOKI) and specific fear of snakes, r(38) = 0.483, p = 0.002. Most important, we found meaningful correlations between general fearfulness (PHOKI), fear of snakes (SNAQ), and daughters’ fear rating sum and avoidance behavior during the behavioral approach test [PHOKI and BAT fear rating: r(38) = 0.335, p = 0.040; SNAQ and BAT fear rating: r(38) = 0.626, p < 0.001; and BAT number of steps and SNAQ: r(38) = −0.496, p = 0.002]. This finding shows that self-reported fear of snakes reflects in higher fear ratings and avoidance behavior in the presence of a real snake. For all correlations, see Table 2.

TABLE 2
www.frontiersin.org

Table 2. Correlations of measures among daughters.

Correlations Between Mothers’ and Daughters’ Measures

In the next step, we correlated the measures of daughters with measures of their mothers. As expected, there was a significant correlation between fear of snakes in mothers and their daughters, r(38) = 0.361, p = 0.026. The higher the reported fear of the mother, the higher the fear of the daughter.

Regarding the maternal implicit gender stereotypes, we found significant correlations between the IAT-derived implicit gender stereotypes and daughters’ fear of snakes, r(38) = 0.427, p = 0.009, as well as daughters’ fear rating sum during the behavioral approach test, r(38) = 0.344, p = 0.040. These correlations indicate that a greater extent of maternal implicit gender stereotypes is associated with higher fear levels of their daughter – for self-reported fear of snakes as well as for fear ratings during presence of a real snake. For all correlations, see Table 3.

TABLE 3
www.frontiersin.org

Table 3. Correlations between measures of mothers and daughters.

Post hoc power analyses revealed the power to detect the given correlations between mothers’ gender stereotypes and the daughters’ fear of snakes before and during the BAT to be 0.81 and 0.6, respectively. To reach a satisfactory power of 0.8 for the correlation with fear ratings during the BAT, the sample size would have to increase to at least 61 dyads of mothers and daughters.

Regression Analysis

According to the above-reported significant correlations, we conducted two linear regressions using daughters’ fear questionnaire scores (PHOKI, SNAQ) as predictors for their fear rating during the BAT and using the snake fear questionnaire (SNAQ) to predict their number of steps during the BAT. In a second step, we conducted two linear regressions to predict daughters’ fear of snakes (SNAQ) and fear ratings during the BAT with maternal measures. Here, we used maternal fear of snakes (SNAQ) and explicit stereotypes (IAT) as predictors for daughters’ fear of snakes and explicit stereotypes of the mothers (IAT) as predictor for daughters’ fear ratings during the BAT.

Fear ratings during the BAT were significantly predicted by the daughters’ SNAQ-score, β = 0.605, t(35) = 4.03, p < 0.001. The overall model explained a significant proportion of variance, corrected R2 = 0.359, F(2, 36) = 11.35, p < 0.001.

The number of steps during the BAT was significantly predicted by the daughters’ SNAQ-score, β = −0.496, t(35) = 3.42, p = 0.002, also explaining a significant proportion of variance, corrected R2 = 0.225, F(1, 36) = 11.72, p = 0.002.

When daughters’ fear of snakes was predicted by maternal measures, it was found that maternal implicit stereotypes measured by the IAT were a significant predictor, β = 0.378, t(35) = 2.41, p = 0.022, whereas maternal snake fear was not significant, β = 0.220, t(35) = 1.40, p = 0.170. The complete model explained a significant proportion of variance, corrected R2 = 0.182, F(2, 35) = 4.89, p = 0.014 – see Figure 1. Given this effect size, post hoc power analyses revealed a chance to detect this effect of 0.37. To reach a power of 0.8, a sample size of at least 99 dyads of mothers and daughters would be necessary.

FIGURE 1
www.frontiersin.org

Figure 1. Scatter plot with fitted regression lines showing the association between mothers’ implicit gender stereotypes (IAT scores), mothers’ fear of snakes (SNAQ scores), and daughters’ fear of snakes (SNAQ scores). IAT, Implicit Association Task; SNAQ, Snake Questionnaire.

In addition, daughters’ fear rating during the BAT was also significantly predicted by maternal implicit stereotypes measured by the IAT, β = 0.344, t(35) = 2.14, p = 0.040. This model explained a significant proportion of variance, corrected R2 = 0.092, F(1, 35) = 4.57, p = 0.040 – see Figure 2. The chance to detect this effect was found to be nearly satisfactory, given a power of 0.7. To ensure sufficient statistical power for this effect, a sample size of 47 dyads would be needed.

FIGURE 2
www.frontiersin.org

Figure 2. Scatter plot with fitted regression line showing the association between mothers’ implicit gender stereotypes (IAT scores) and daughters’ fear ratings during the snake BAT. IAT, Implicit Association Task; BAT, Behavioral Approach Test.

Discussion

In clinical practice and across many studies, the prevalence of specific fears and phobias is much higher in girls, and their fear persists into adulthood (Frederikson et al., 1996; Polak et al., 2016; Zsido, 2017). Gender role orientation and gender stereotypes have been found to be important determinants of anxiety (Dillon et al., 1985; Arcand et al., 2020), as well as of sex differences in specific fears (Tucker and Bond, 1997; Arrindell, 2000; McLean and Hope, 2010; Stoyanova and Hope, 2012). However, very few studies have focused on the association between parent’s gender role stereotypes and children’s fear. Thus, the present study investigates whether maternal fears, gender role orientation, and specifically gender stereotypes are related to daughters’ level of self-reported general fearfulness, specific fear of snakes, as well as their behavior toward a living snake during a behavioral approach test.

Our results show that daughters’ general fear of snakes correlates with self-reported fear ratings and less approach behavior toward the fear-relevant animal during a behavioral approach test. Furthermore, mothers’ fear of snakes is significantly associated with their daughters’ fear of snakes. For the mothers, we found a negative association between masculinity and trait anxiety. Most important for the present research aim, maternal gender stereotypes were significantly associated with daughters’ self-reported fear. More specifically, maternal implicit gender stereotypes assessed with the IAT predicted daughters’ fear of snakes and fear ratings while approaching a living snake.

Therefore, our study shows first evidence that traditional gender role stereotypes in mothers are significantly associated with higher fear levels in their daughters. However, as this is one of the first studies with correlational evidence for an influence of maternal stereotypes on children’s fear, the exact underlying processes should be further investigated in future studies.

Conformity With Previous Studies on Gender Roles

The main results are well in line with previous evidence showing that stereotypical gender roles can be significantly related to fear. For example, it has been reported for children and adults that higher fear levels are associated with higher levels of femininity and lower levels of masculinity independent of the biological sex (Ginsburg and Silverman, 2000; Chaplin et al., 2005; Muris et al., 2005). As an underlying process, we assume that parents, which tend to think in a stereotypical manner, tolerate and reinforce anxiety-related behavior in their daughters more often and encourage daughters less to face anxiety-provoking situations (Chaplin et al., 2005). This distinctive parenting behavior could increase and maintain anxiety in daughters via verbal information or modeling, thus increasing differences in prevalence rates of (specific) anxiety between males and females (Muris and Field, 2010; Remmerswaal et al., 2013). Already in very young children, parents talk more with their daughters about emotional states with a focus on negative emotions compared to sons (Fivush et al., 2000). Similarly, there is evidence from research on gender differences in math anxiety, revealing that mothers specifically communicate (math) gender stereotypes to their daughters, which is further associated with enhanced math anxiety and affects academic preferences of the daughters (Batchelor et al., 2017). Interestingly, the influence of maternal stereotypes on children’s fear in our study could be shown only for the implicit measure of stereotypes. This finding seems plausible considering that implicit measures are assumed to reduce self-presentational biases compared to explicit measures – especially in assessing (gender) stereotypes (White and White, 2006). This assumption possibly also applies to our sample, as the stereotypes assessed by explicit measures are relatively low and do not correlate with the implicit measure.

Although we observed associations between mothers’ stereotypes and daughters’ fears, and it is likely that mothers’ stereotypes will have developed earlier, this is not proof of causality. Also, we cannot rule out possible genetic influences, such that gender orientation might be inherited to a certain extent from parents, which in turn might mediate the relationship between parental gender stereotypes and children’s fear. However, besides evidence that genetic influences on gender role orientation become apparent mainly at a later age (see Polderman et al., 2018), our findings show a direct association of maternal gender roles and fear in children and no significant association between child and maternal gender roles. Thus, the association with fear does not appear to be mainly mediated by child gender roles, at least in our study.

Plausible mechanisms for other mediating processes are modeling (Bandura et al., 1967) or instruction (Bublatzky et al., 2014). For the latter, we documented experimentally that threat instructions do not need to be elaborate to result in surprisingly stable specific fear responses. Interestingly, parents may or may not be aware of these influences. Future research will have to identify the targets of this intergenerational learning: Whether parents convey enhanced risk estimations (Hengen and Alpers, 2019) or avoidant behavioral tendencies (Pittig et al., 2014) is to be explored.

Importantly, our results may have relevant implications for fear prevention and treatment (Bekker and van Mens-Verhulst, 2007; Hallers-Haalboom et al., 2020), especially in girls, by considering (parental) gender role expectations and dispelling gender stereotypes. Interestingly, there is first evidence that courage can have anxiety-reducing effects and may counteract the development of pathological fears (Muris and Field, 2010). For example, dispositional courage is positively associated with enhanced approach behavior toward a living spider in spider fearful women (Cougle and Hawkins, 2013), and courage was able to predict approach behavior even after controlling for spider fear (Norton and Weiss, 2009). Similarly, higher levels of self-reported courage in schoolchildren were also related to lower anxiety levels (Muris and Field, 2010).

Thus, becoming aware of one’s own stereotypes and encouraging children – especially girls – to face challenging or unfamiliar situations could be one promising approach to prevent anxiety among girls and women. Moreover, these insights may be also relevant for the gold standard treatment for phobias, i.e., exposure therapy, by informing cognitive preparation of psychoeducation that typically precedes exposure to feared animals (Alpers, 2010).

Conformity with Other Theories on Sex Differences in Anxiety

Several theories aim at explaining sex differences in prevalence rates of anxiety and phobias, specifically. However, comprehensive approaches integrating evolutionary, genetic, physiological, and social influences are scarce (e.g., Craske, 2003). In the following section, we check for the compatibility of our results with prominent theories on the acquisition of (sex differences) in fear of snakes.

Preparedness theory states that it has proven advantageous for the survival of humankind to react fearful to potential threat, such as snakes (Seligman, 1971). More than that, it implies that one single confrontation is sufficient to produce avoidance behavior (“Ease of Acquisition”) and proposes a higher resistance to extinction for such stimuli. Furthermore, the error detection theory proposes a mechanism by which the costs of underestimating a threat (e.g., injury or death) are deemed higher than overestimating threat (e.g., energy spent inefficiently, Haselton and Buss, 2000). Thus, this bias in costs of threat estimation supports a tendency to react (unnecessarily) fearful to potential threat and especially evolutionary relevant stimuli (Nesse, 2019). Considering that women used to be responsible for childcare and gathering food, they were possibly exposed to higher costs of underestimating threat for themselves and their offspring. Therefore, women may be more sensitive to fear of snakes, as a tendency to identity snakes as potential threat and reacting accordingly might have been evolutionary beneficial (Rakison, 2009).

Support for the evolutionary perspective explaining the sex ratio in anxiety comes from biological evidence for (neuro-)physiological differences in anxiety between women and men. Biological vulnerability factors enhancing anxiety in women have been reported, such as a higher physiological reactivity of the autonomic nervous system and of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical (HPA) axis (Kelly et al., 2008; McLean and Anderson, 2009; Bangasser et al., 2010). Furthermore, structural and functional differences have been documented between men and women in regions relevant for the processing of fear and anxiety, such as the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the amygdala (Marques et al., 2016).

Considering the strong support for evolutionary and biological causes of sex differences in specific phobia, one might assume that fear of snakes is evolutionary hardwired (especially in women), implying that social influences do not play a significant role. However, it has been discussed that evolutionary and biological theories, e.g., differences in preparedness, only explain the ease and quantity of associative fear learning, but not whether associative fear learning takes place at all (Kawai, 2019). Thus, it cannot explain why some, but not all women, acquire fear of snakes (Frederikson et al., 1997), indicating that also other factors, such as socialization, may play a role. Multiple studies propose that genetic and environmental factors interact in the genesis of specific phobias (e.g., Ollendick et al., 2002; Loken et al., 2014; Sawyers et al., 2019). Thus, our finding that maternal (implicit) gender stereotypes influence girls’ fear of snakes and do not necessarily contradict evolutionary theories on sex differences in specific phobia. Possibly, the impact of parental gender stereotypes may be enhanced given a genetic (female) predisposition to fear responses. Vice versa the absence of parental gender stereotypes and encouragement of approach behavior in girls might alleviate biological influences on fear. However, determining the relative impact and interaction of genetic and social influences on sex differences in phobias, and snake phobia, specifically, goes beyond the scope of this study and has to be investigated in future research.

Beyond biological theories of fear, psychological models postulate a crucial role of associative learning for the acquisition of specific phobias. In general, three pathways for fear acquisition are assumed: classical conditioning, vicarious learning, and verbal threat information (Rachman, 1977). For influences of socialization on fear acquisition with special regard to gender differences, vicarious learning and verbal threat information, as well as reinforcement of specific behaviors, may be relevant (Ollendick and King, 1991; Möller et al., 2015). For these paths, at least up to school age, parents most likely play a prominent role in conveying verbal threat information, in terms of role modeling and also by reinforcing children’s anxious behavior.

Several studies including children of different ages suggest that both (fear-relevant) modeling behavior (Askew and Field, 2007) and verbal threat information (Muris and Field, 2010) can (differentially) affect anxiety levels in children (e.g., Remmerswaal et al., 2013). For example, a study with child–mother dyads was conducted where children observed their mothers’ positive or negative vocal and facial expressions in response to a toy snake or spider. When confronted with the toys, children‘s fear and avoidance responses were significantly enhanced after a negative response from the mother, with the effect being greater for girls than boys (Gerull and Rapee, 2002). To investigate effects of threat information on childhood fears, pictures of unfamiliar animals were presented to a children sample. Each picture was accompanied by positive, negative, or neutral information about the unknown animal. Implicit and self-reported fear as well as avoidance behavior increased when children were provided with negative information and decreased with positive information about the animals (Field and Lawson, 2003). With respect to gender differences, girls tend to report more incidences of informational learning as source of their fears than boys (Ollendick and King, 1991). These differences may reflect extant socialization practices and/or real differences in fear acquisition. Although girls do not seem to be more sensitive to informational threat learning in general, they were found to be especially susceptible to ambiguous threat information (Muris and Field, 2010). In sum, these differences in social fear learning between girls and boys may reflect biological (shown in animal research) or acquired differences in the impact of social information or in fear acquisition (as shown for fear conditioning paradigms, see Day and Stevenson, 2020).

Again, our results do not contradict previous evidence on the impact of associative learning on sex differences in specific phobia. Rather, especially vicarious and informational learning provides channels for communicating (implicit) gender stereotypes. Also, the fact that girls are only more susceptible to (ambiguous) information learning is well in line with our finding that implicit, but not explicit maternal gender stereotypes influence girls’ fear of snakes. Possibly, implicit gender stereotypes about girls’ expected fear reaction may mainly provide, of nature, indirect or ambiguous information. However, our results do not provide causal insights into these processes. Thus, it would be interesting to investigate whether girls are more susceptible to vicarious and/or informational threat learning per se, or whether parental gender stereotypes mediate these effects.

Further Strengths and Limitations

In addition to the main findings, our correlational results indicate initially that mothers’ fear of snakes is significantly associated with their daughters’ fear of snakes. This stands in line with findings that enhanced anxiety of parents can be related to phobic and anxiety disorders in children (Muris et al., 1996; Ollendick and Horsch, 2007). However, opposite to our expectations, maternal fears did not explain additional variance of daughters’ fears when implicit stereotypes were considered in the regression model. This is surprising considering consistent evidence on the relationship between parental anxiety and children’s anxiety. For example, this relationship was shown between children and both parents, whereas other studies showed that fearfulness of the children was specifically related to their mothers’ fearfulness (Muris et al., 1996; Murray et al., 2009). Furthermore, this relationship was modulated by model learning (Muris et al., 1996). However, some studies show no association between children‘s performance on a behavioral approach test and parental phobic anxiety (Ollendick et al., 2012; van der Bruggen and Bögels, 2012). So far, no study has taken gender role stereotypes into account while investigating the relation between parental and children‘s anxiety – therefore, it is crucial to further elucidate this relationship with additional consideration of factors as, for example, gender roles and stereotypes.

Also, in line with the literature, we found a significant negative association between masculinity and trait anxiety for the mothers. That masculine traits have a diminishing effect on anxiety has been consistently reported in the literature (Arrindell, 2000; Muris et al., 2005; Stoyanova and Hope, 2012). Although there was no association between femininity and fear in our adult sample, this is also in line with a large part of the literature, in which associations between fear and masculinity are reported more frequently (Arrindell, 2000; Moscovitch et al., 2005) than between femininity and fear or both (Tucker and Bond, 1997).

Also for children, the literature consistently reports positive associations between fear and femininity and negative associations between fear and masculinity for non-clinical samples (Muris and Field, 2010) and children with anxiety (Ginsburg and Silverman, 2000; Muris et al., 2005). Unexpectedly, we could not find any support for this correlation in our study. A possible explanation could be that we only studied girls, whereas other studies considered mixed-gender samples, and thus, we might have limited variance in those constructs. In addition, due to our sample size, the statistical power to detect small-to-moderate effects may not be sufficient. Also, the reported associations appeared in much larger samples (see Ginsburg and Silverman, 2000; Muris et al., 2005). Based on power analyses of the given effect sizes in our studies, we recommend a sample size of at least n = 60 for future studies investigating associations between fear and gender variables. Furthermore, it seems important to investigate these relationships in more heterogeneous samples.

In contrast to the literature, we found no significant association between gender roles and stereotypes of mothers and their daughters neither for implicit nor for explicit measures. A possible explanation could be the relatively young age of our child sample because existing associations were shown mainly between parents and older children or adolescents (Ex and Janssens, 1998; Tenenbaum and Leaper, 2002). Furthermore, similarities are maybe not as strong as assumed because children are also exposed to other than parental influences that shape their views and attitudes (Martin et al., 2002). Thus, it is plausible that several studies, including our study, find no or only moderate correlations (Tenenbaum and Leaper, 2002).

Regarding our methodical approach, the association between children’s snake fear and their fear ratings with their approach behavior suggests that the BAT is suitable to measure fear on a behavioral level even in younger children (see also Klein et al., 2011). The importance of the multidimensional assessment of anxiety is supported by findings that self-reported anxiety does not always correspond to actual behavior in fearful situations (Cartwright-Hatton et al., 2003; Alpers and Sell, 2008). Moreover, self-reports reflect more controlled processes, whereas behavioral fear responses are more automatic – especially in children (Bijttebier et al., 2003; Strack and Deutsch, 2004). Thus, the assessment of behavioral components in addition to self-report can more adequately address the different components of fear (Ollendick et al., 2011) and may help to reduce the influence of response tendencies. This might be of specific importance in the research field of gender roles and sex differences because there is evidence that the fear ratings of men can be affected by conformation to the traditional male gender role (Pierce and Kirkpatrick, 1992). However, a ceiling effect occurred in the BAT. Of 38 girls, six did not approach the snake to the last step, raising the question whether the test did not provoke sufficient anxiety or whether the sample consists of low (snake) fearful girls. The latter assumption is supported by low-to-medium fear reports in the questionnaires. Furthermore, the courageous approach behavior of girls could also be explained by the presence of a female experimenter. Thus, the girls were not alone during the task and possibly felt encouraged by the (female) experimenter, who might have acted as a role model. This consideration is supported by the finding that positive modeling in a new situation can prevent the acquisition of fear (Egliston and Rapee, 2007).

Another important limitation of our study is that – due to its explorative character – we did not correct for multiple testing (see Streiner and Norman, 2011). Thus, we can only provide first evidence of a plausible relationship between maternal stereotypes and children’s fear. Of course, this needs to be replicated in further studies.

For practical reasons, we focused on mothers and their daughters, but we are aware that the father’s influence certainly plays a role as well. While mothers on average spend most time with their children (Lamb, 2000) and are thought to be the primary mediator of gender role attitudes for their offspring, it was also found that more masculine fathers have children with less feminine traits (Ex and Janssens, 1998). Similarly, children have less stereotypical attitudes toward their own gender when their fathers take on more household tasks (Turner and Gervai, 1995). Fathers also strongly influence children’s gender stereotypes of academic performance (Tomasetto et al., 2015). There is further evidence from a meta-analysis that fathers differentiate between sons and daughters more strongly than mothers (Lytton and Romney, 1991). In addition, fathers are more likely to reinforce exploratory and physical play in boys than in girls and expect more discipline from sons. These findings suggest that fathers also have an important influence on their children’s development that should not be neglected. However, the influence on children’s gender role orientation and gender stereotypes (Tenenbaum and Leaper, 2002) as well as on fear and anxiety (Möller et al., 2015) is likely to be an interaction of both parents. Therefore, it would be relevant for future studies to investigate the influence of maternal and paternal characteristics on childhood anxiety of girls, but also of boys (Salcuni et al., 2015).

Finally, it is very important to note that the study of maternal or generally parental influences on children’s behavior is not about assigning blame but should help to identify relevant risk as well as protective factors. It can be assumed that parents (and other primary caregivers) do not want to influence their children willingly in an unfavorable way, but rather want to do the best for their children. In addition, there is evidence that gender roles and possibly gender role stereotypes also have genetic/biological components and thus cannot be understood exclusively as a result of socialization (e.g., Polderman et al., 2018). Nonetheless, the identification of potential risk factors offers the opportunity for parents to reflect on their behavior and to expand their scope of action. Furthermore, it can be useful to consider these aspects in prevention and treatment programs that take parents into account (Wei and Kendall, 2014).

Summary and Future Direction

In sum, the present study replicated and extended links between stereotypes and fear. For one, masculinity and anxiety are negatively correlated in mothers. Also, we found mothers’ and their daughters’ specific fears to be associated. Most importantly, for the first time, we showed that implicit gender stereotypes of mothers are associated with daughters’ specific fear and their fear in presence of a fear-relevant animal. Interestingly, maternal fears did not predict daughters’ fears beyond implicit gender stereotypes. As this is one of the few experimental studies examining the relationship between parental gender stereotypes and children’s fear, it may motivate replications with larger and more heterogeneous samples including fathers and sons and a wider range of possible fear domains. Increasing awareness of gender stereotypes may be a promising approach to prevent fears and phobias in girls and to establish targeted treatment modalities for women.

Data Availability Statement

The data supporting the conclusions of this article are available on request in the MADATA - Research Data Repository of the University of Mannheim (doi: 10.7801/388), available at: https://madata.bib.uni-mannheim.de/.

Ethics Statement

The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by Ethics Committee at the University of Mannheim (EK Mannheim 08/2018). Written informed consent to participate in this study was provided by the participants’ legal guardian/next of kin.

Author Contributions

AG and GA contributed to research idea, design, and methodology. AG, L-AF, and MB performed data preparation and data analysis and were involved in manuscript writing and preparation. MB collected the data. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version.

Funding

The publication of this article was funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg and the University of Mannheim.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank all mothers and daughters who participated in the study. We would also like to thank Johanna Lidel and Nils Raab for their help with the data collection as part of their theses.

Footnotes

1. ^AIP data for one child were excluded due to technical problems.

References

Agras, S., Sylvester, D., and Oliveau, D. (1969). The epidemiology of common fears and phobia. Compr. Psychiatry 10, 151–156. doi: 10.1016/0010-440X(69)90022-4

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Alanko, K., Santtila, P., Harlaar, N., Witting, K., Varjonen, M., Jern, P., et al. (2010). Common genetic effects of gender atypical behavior in childhood and sexual orientation in adulthood: A study of finnish twins. Arch. Sex. Behav. 39, 81–92. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9457-3

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Alpers, G. W. (2010). “Avoiding treatment failures in specific phobias,” in Avoiding Treatment Failures in the Anxiety Disorders. M. W. Otto and S. G. Hofmann (Eds.) (New York, NY: Springer), 209–230.

Google Scholar

Alpers, G. W., and Sell, R. (2008). And yet they correlate: psychophysiological activation predicts self-report outcomes of exposure therapy in claustrophobia. J. Anxiety Disord. 22, 1101–1109. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.11.009

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Antill, J. K., Goodnow, J. J., Russell, G., and Cotton, S. (1996). The influence of parents and family context on children’s involvement in household tasks. Sex Roles 34, 215–236. doi: 10.1007/BF01544297

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Arcand, M., Juster, R. P., Lupien, S. J., and Marin, M. F. (2020). Gender roles in relation to symptoms of anxiety and depression among students and workers. Anxiety Stress Coping 33, 661–674. doi: 10.1080/10615806.2020.1774560

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Arrindell, W. A. (2000). Phobic dimensions: iv. The structure of animal fears. Behav. Res. Ther. 38, 509–530. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7967(99)00097-2

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Askew, C., and Field, A. P. (2007). Vicarious learning and the development of fears in childhood. Behav. Res. Ther. 45, 2616–2627. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2007.06.008

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Bandura, A., Grusec, J. E., and Menlove, F. L. (1967). Vicarious extinction of avoidance behavior. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 5, 16–23. doi: 10.1037/h0024182

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Bangasser, D. A., Curtis, A., Reyes, B. A., Bethea, T. T., Parastatidis, I., Ischiropoulos, H., et al. (2010). Sex differences in corticotropin-releasing factor receptor signaling and trafficking: potential role in female vulnerability to stress-related psychopathology. Mol. Psychiatry 15, 896–904. doi: 10.1038/mp.2010.66

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Banse, R., Gawronski, B., Rebetez, C., Gutt, H., and Morton, J. B. (2010). The development of spontaneous gender stereotyping in childhood: relations to stereotype knowledge and stereotype flexibility. Dev. Sci. 13, 298–306. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00880.x

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Batchelor, S., Gilmore, C., and Inglis, M. (2017). “Parents’ and children’s mathematics anxiety,” in Understanding Emotions in Mathematical Thinking and Learning. ed. U. X. Eligio (San Diego: Academic Press), 315–336.

Google Scholar

Bekker, M. H., and van Mens-Verhulst, J. (2007). Anxiety disorders: sex differences in prevalence, degree, and background, but gender-neutral treatment. Gend. Med. 4, S178–S193. doi: 10.1016/s1550-8579(07)80057-x

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 42, 155–162. doi: 10.1037/h0036215

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Bem, S. L. (1981). Gender schema theory: A cognitive account of sex typing. Psychol. Rev. 88, 354–364. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.88.4.354

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Bijttebier, P., Vasey, M. W., and Braet, C. (2003). The information-processing paradigm: A valuable framework for clinical child and adolescent psychology. J. Clin. Child Adolesc. Psychol. 32, 2–9. doi: 10.1207/S15374424JCCP3201_01

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Boldizar, J. P. (1991). Assessing sex typing and androgyny in children: The children’s sex role inventory. Dev. Psychol. 27, 505–515. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.27.3.505

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Brody, L. R., Hay, D. H., and Vandewater, E. (1990). Gender, gender role identity, and children’s reported feelings toward the same and opposite sex. Sex Roles 23, 363–387. doi: 10.1007/BF00289226

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Bublatzky, F., Gerdes, A. B. M., and Alpers, G. W. (2014). The persistence of socially instructed threat: two threat-of-shock studies. Psychophysiology 51, 1005–1014. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12251

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Burge, P. L. (1981). Parental child-rearing sex-role attitudes related to social issue sex-role attitudes and selected demographic variables. J. Home Econ. Res. 9, 193–199. doi: 10.1177/1077727X8100900302

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Cartwright-Hatton, S., Hodges, L., and Porter, J. (2003). Social anxiety in childhood: The relationship with self and observer rated social skills. J. Child Psychol. Psychiatry 44, 737–742. doi: 10.1111/1469-7610.00159

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Chaplin, T. M., Cole, P. M., and Zahn-Waxler, C. (2005). Parental socialization of emotion expression: gender differences and relations to child adjustment. Emotion 5, 80–88. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.5.1.80

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences (2nd Edn.). New York: Routledge.

Google Scholar

Cougle, J. R., and Hawkins, K. A. (2013). Priming of courageous behavior: contrast effects in spider fearful women. J. Clin. Psychol. 69, 896–902. doi: 10.1002/jclp.21961

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Craske, M. G. (2003). Origins of Phobias and Anxiety Disorders: Why More Women than Men? Oxford, England: Elsevier Science.

Google Scholar

Curtis, G., Magee, W. J., Eaton, W. W., Wittchen, H. U., and Kessler, R. C. (1998). Specific fears and phobias. Br. J. Psychiatry 173, 212–217. doi: 10.1192/bjp.173.3.212

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Day, H. L. L., and Stevenson, C. W. (2020). The neurobiological basis of sex differences in learned fear and its inhibition. Eur. J. Neurosci. 52, 2466–2486. doi: 10.1111/ejn.14602

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Debiec, J., and Olsson, A. (2017). Social fear learning: From animal models to human function. Trends Cogn. Sci. 21, 546–555. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2017.04.010

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Depla, M. F. I. A., ten Have, M. L., van Balkom, A. J. L. M., and de Graaf, R. (2008). Specific fears and phobias in the general population: results from the Netherlands mental health survey and incidence study (nemesis). Soc. Psychiatry Psychiatr. Epidemiol. 43, 200–208. doi: 10.1007/s00127-007-0291-z

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Dillon, K. M., Wolf, E., and Katz, H. (1985). Sex roles, gender, and fear. Aust. J. Psychol. 119, 355–359. doi: 10.1080/00223980.1985.9915454

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Doey, L., Coplan, R. J., and Kingsbury, M. (2014). Bashful boys and coy girls: A review of gender differences in childhood shyness. Sex Roles 70, 255–266. doi: 10.1007/s11199-013-0317-9

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Döpfner, M., Schnabel, M., Goletz, H., and Ollendick, T. (2006). Phobiefragebogen für Kinder und Jugendliche (PHOKI). Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Google Scholar

Egliston, K. A., and Rapee, R. M. (2007). Inhibition of fear acquisition in toddlers following positive modelling by their mothers. Behav. Res. Ther. 45, 1871–1882. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2007.02.007

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Endendijk, J. J., Groeneveld, M. G., van Berkel, S. R., Hallers-Haalboom, E. T., Mesman, J., and Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. (2013). Gender stereotypes in the family context: mothers, fathers, and siblings. Sex Roles 68, 577–590. doi: 10.1007/s11199-013-0265-4

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Ex, C. T. G. M., and Janssens, J. M. A. M. (1998). Maternal influences on daughters’ gender role attitudes. Sex Roles 38, 171–186. doi: 10.1023/A:1018776931419

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Buchner, A., and Lang, A.-G. (2009). Statistical power analysis using g*power 3.1: tests for correlation and regression analyses. Behav. Res. Methods 41, 1149–1160. doi: 10.3758/BRM.41.4.1149

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Field, A. P., and Lawson, J. (2003). Fear information and the development of fears during childhood: effects on implicit fear responses and behavioural avoidance. Behav. Res. Ther. 41, 1277–1293. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7967(03)00034-2

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Fivush, R., Brotman, M. A., Buckner, J. P., and Goodman, S. H. (2000). Gender differences in parent–child emotion narratives. Sex Roles 42, 233–253. doi: 10.1023/A:1007091207068

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Frederikson, M., Annas, P., Fischer, H., and Wik, G. (1996). Gender and age differences in the prevalence of specific fears and phobias. Behav. Res. Ther. 34, 33–39. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(95)00048-3

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Frederikson, M., Annas, P., and Wik, G. (1997). Parental history, aversive exposure and the development of snake and spider phobia in women. Behav. Res. Ther. 35, 23–28. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7967(96)00076-9

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Gerull, F. C., and Rapee, R. M. (2002). Mother knows best: effects of maternal modelling on the acquisition of fear and avoidance behaviour in toddlers. Behav. Res. Ther. 40, 279–287. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7967(01)00013-4

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Ginsburg, G. S., and Silverman, W. K. (2000). Gender role orientation and fearfulness in children with anxiety disorders. J. Anxiety Disord. 14, 57–67. doi: 10.1016/S0887-6185(99)00033-X

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Greenwald, A. G., McGhee, D. E., and Schwartz, J. L. K. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The implicit association test. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 74, 1464–1480. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.74.6.1464

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Greenwald, A. G., Nosek, B. A., and Banaji, M. R. (2003). Understanding and using the implicit association test: I. An improved scoring algorithm. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 85, 197–216. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.85.2.197

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Hallam, R. S., and Hafner, R. J. (1978). Fears of phobic patients: factor analyses of self-report data. Behav. Res. Ther. 6, 1–6. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(78)90084-0

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Hallers-Haalboom, E. T., Maas, J., Kunst, L. E., and Bekker, M. H. J. (2020). The role of sex and gender in anxiety disorders: being scared “like a girl”? Handb. Clin. Neurol. 175, 359–368. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-64123-6.00024-2

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Haselton, M. G., and Buss, D. M. (2000). Error management theory: A new perspective on biases in cross-sex mind reading. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 78, 81–91. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.78.1.81

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Hengen, K. M., and Alpers, G. W. (2019). What’s the risk? Fearful individuals generally overestimate negative outcomes and they dread outcomes of specific events. Front. Psychol. 10:1676. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01676

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Iervolino, A. C., Hines, M., Golombok, S. E., Rust, J., and Plomin, R. (2005). Genetic and environmental influences on sex-typed behavior during the preschool years. Child Dev. 76, 826–840. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00880.x

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Kane, E. W. (2006). “No way my boys are going to be like that!”: Parents’ responses to children’s gender nonconformity. Gend. Soc. 20, 149–176. doi: 10.1177/0891243205284276

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Kawai, N. (2019). “Are snakes special in human fear learning and cognition? The preparedness theory of phobia and the fear module theory,” in The Fear of Snakes. ed. T. Matasuzawa (Singapure: Springer), 19–31.

Google Scholar

Kelly, M. M., Tyrka, A. R., Anderson, G. M., Price, L. H., and Carpenter, L. L. (2008). Sex differences in emotional and physiological responses to the trier social stress test. J. Behav. Ther. Exp. Psychiatry 39, 87–98. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2007.02.003

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Kessler, R. C., McGonagle, K. A., Zhao, S., Nelson, C. B., Hughes, M., Eshleman, S., et al. (1994). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of dsm-iii-r psychiatric disorders in the United States: results from the national comorbidity survey. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 51, 8–19. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950010008002

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

King, N. J., Ollendick, T. H., Murphy, G. C., and Muris, P. (2000). Animal phobias in children: aetiology, assessment and treatment. Clin. Psychol. Psychother. 7, 11–21. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0879(200002)7:1<11::AID-CPP226>3.0.CO;2-X

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Klein, A. M., Becker, E. S., and Rinck, M. (2011). Approach and avoidance tendencies in spider fearful children: The approach-avoidance task. J. Child Fam. Stud. 20, 224–231. doi: 10.1007/s10826-010-9402-7

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Klorman, R., Weerts, T. C., Hastings, J. E., Melamed, B. G., and Lang, P. J. (1974). Psychometric description of some specific-fear questionnaires. Behav. Ther. 5, 401–409. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7894(74)80008-0

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Kollmayer, M., Schultes, M. T., Schober, B., Hodosi, T., and Spiel, C. (2018). Parents’ judgments about the desirability of toys for their children: associations with gender role attitudes, gender-typing of toys, and demographics. Sex Roles 79, 329–341. doi: 10.1007/s11199-017-0882-4

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Lamb, M. E. (2000). The history of research on father involvement: An overview. Marriage Fam. Rev. 29, 23–42. doi: 10.1300/J002v29n02_03

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Laux, L., Glanzmann, P., Schaffner, P., and Spielberger, C. D. (1981). Das State-Trait-Angstinventar (STAI) [State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)]. Weinheim: Beltz Test.

Google Scholar

Leaper, C., and Friedman, C. K. (2007). “The socialization of gender,” in Handbook of Socialization: Theory and Research. eds. J. E. Grusec and P. D. Hastings (New York, NY: The Guilford Press), 561–587.

Google Scholar

Leiner, D. J. (2014). Sosci survey (version 2.5.00-i) [computer software].

Google Scholar

Livingston, B. A., and Judge, T. A. (2008). Emotional responses to work-family conflict: An examination of gender role orientation among working men and women. J. Appl. Psychol. 93, 207–216. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.93.1.207

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Loken, E. K., Hettema, J. M., Aggen, S. H., and Kendler, K. S. (2014). The structure of genetic and environmental risk factors for fears and phobias. Psychol. Med. 44, 2375–2384. doi: 10.1017/S0033291713003012

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Lytton, H., and Romney, D. M. (1991). Parents differential socialization of boys and girls—a metaanalysis. Psychol. Bull. 109, 267–296. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.109.2.267

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Maccoby, E. E. (2000). Perspectives on gender development. Int. J. Behav. Dev. 24, 398–406. doi: 10.1080/016502500750037946

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Mackinaw-Koons, B., and Vasey, M. W. (2000). Considering sex differences in anxiety and its disorders across the life span: A construct-validation approach. Appl. Prev. Psychol. 9, 191–209. doi: 10.1016/S0962-1849(05)80004-6

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Marques, A. A., Bevilaqua, M. C., da Fonseca, A. M., Nardi, A. E., Thuret, S., and Dias, G. P. (2016). Gender differences in the neurobiology of anxiety: focus on adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Neural Plast. 2016:5026713. doi: 10.1155/2016/5026713

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Martin, C. L., Ruble, D. N., and Szkrybalo, J. (2002). Cognitive theories of early gender development. Psychol. Bull. 128, 903–933. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.128.6.903

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

McLean, C. P., and Anderson, E. R. (2009). Brave men and timid women? A review of the gender differences in fear and anxiety. Clin. Psychol. Rev. 29, 496–505. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2009.05.003

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

McLean, C. P., Asnaani, A., Litz, B. T., and Hofmann, S. G. (2011). Gender differences in anxiety disorders: prevalence, course of illness, comorbidity and burden of illness. J. Psychiatr. Res. 45, 1027–1035. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.03.006

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

McLean, C. P., and Hope, D. A. (2010). Subjective anxiety and behavioral avoidance: gender, gender role, and perceived confirmability of self-report. J. Anxiety Disord. 24, 494–502. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.03.006

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Meltzer, H., Vostanis, P., Dogra, N., Doos, L., Ford, T., and Goodman, R. (2009). Children’s specific fears. Child Care Health Dev. 35, 781–789. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2008.00908.x

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Möller, E. L., Majdandžić, M., and Bögels, S. M. (2015). Parental anxiety, parenting behavior, and infant anxiety: differential associations for fathers and mothers. J. Child Fam. Stud. 24, 2626–2637. doi: 10.1007/s10826-014-0065-7

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Möller, E. L., Majdandzic, M., de Vente, W., and Bogels, S. M. (2013). The evolutionary basis of sex differences in parenting and its relationship with child anxiety in western societies. J. Exp. Psychopathol. 4, 88–117. doi: 10.5127/jep.026912

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Moscovitch, D. A., Hofmann, S. G., and Litz, B. T. (2005). The impact of self-construals on social anxiety: A gender-specific interaction. Personal. Individ. Differ. 38, 659–672. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2004.05.021

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Muris, P., and Field, A. P. (2010). The role of verbal threat information in the development of childhood fear. “beware the jabberwock!”. Clin. Child. Fam. Psychol. Rev. 13, 129–150. doi: 10.1007/s10567-010-0064-1

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Muris, P., Meesters, C., and Knoops, M. (2005). The relation between gender role orientation and fear and anxiety in nonclinic-referred children. J. Clin. Child Adolesc. Psychol. 34, 326–332. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3402_12

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Muris, P., Merckelbach, H., Mayer, B., and Prins, E. (2000). How serious are common childhood fears? Behav. Res. Ther. 38, 217–228. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7967(98)00204-6

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Muris, P., Steerneman, P., Merckelbach, H., and Meesters, C. (1996). The role of parental fearfulness and modeling in children’s fear. Behav. Res. Ther. 34, 265–268. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(95)00067-4

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Murray, L., Creswell, C., and Cooper, P. J. (2009). The development of anxiety disorders in childhood: an integrative review. Psychol. Med. 39, 1413–1423. doi: 10.1017/S0033291709005157

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Nesse, R. M. (2001). The smoke detector principle. Natural selection and the regulation of defensive responses. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 935, 75–85. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2001.tb03472.x

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Nesse, R. M. (2019). The smoke detector principle: signal detection and optimal defense regulation. Evol. Med. Public Health 2019:1. doi: 10.1093/emph/eoy034

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Norton, P. J., and Weiss, B. J. (2009). The role of courage on behavioral approach in a fear-eliciting situation: A proof-of-concept pilot study. J. Anxiety Disord. 23, 212–217. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2008.07.002

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Nosek, B. A., Smyth, F. L., Hansen, J. J., Devos, T., Lindner, N. M., Ranganath, K. A., et al. (2007). Pervasiveness and correlates of implicit attitudes and stereotypes. Eur. Rev. Soc. Psychol. 18, 36–88. doi: 10.1080/10463280701489053

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Ollendick, T. H. (1983). Reliability and validity of the revised fear surgery schedule for children (fssc-r). Behav. Res. Ther. 21, 685–692. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(83)90087-6

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Ollendick, T., Allen, B., Benoit, K., and Cowart, M. (2011). The tripartite model of fear in children with specific phobias: assessing concordance and discordance using the behavioral approach test. Behav. Res. Ther. 49, 459–465. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2011.04.003

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Ollendick, T. H., and Horsch, L. M. (2007). Fears in clinic-referred children: relations with child anxiety sensitivity, maternal overcontrol, and maternal phobic anxiety. Behav. Ther. 38, 402–411. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2006.12.001

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Ollendick, T. H., and King, N. J. (1991). Origins of childhood fears: An evaluation of rachman’s theory of fear acquisition. Behav. Res. Ther. 29, 117–123. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(91)90039-6

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Ollendick, T. H., King, N. J., and Muris, P. (2002). Fears and phobias in children: phenomenology, epidemiology, and aetiology. Child Adolesc. Mental Health 7, 98–106. doi: 10.1111/1475-3588.00019

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Ollendick, T. H., Lewis, K. M., Cowart, M. J., and Davis, T. III (2012). Prediction of child performance on a parent-child behavioral approach test with animal phobic children. Behav. Modif. 36, 509–524. doi: 10.1177/0145445512448191

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Palapattu, A. G., Kingery, J. N., and Ginsburg, G. S. (2006). Gender role orientation and anxiety symptoms among african american adolescents. J. Abnorm. Child Psychol. 34, 441–449. doi: 10.1007/s10802-006-9023-1

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Perez-Quintana, A., Hormiga, E., Martori, J. C., and Madariaga, R. (2017). The influence of sex and gender-role orientation in the decision to become an entrepreneur. Int. J. Gend. Entrep. 9, 8–30. doi: 10.1108/IJGE-12-2015-0047

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Pierce, K. A., and Kirkpatrick, D. R. (1992). Do men lie on fear surveys? Behav. Res. Ther. 30, 415–418. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(92)90055-L

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Pittig, A., Brand, M., Pawlikowski, M., and Alpers, G. W. (2014). The cost of fear: avoidant decision making in a spider gambling task. J. Anxiety Disord. 28, 326–334. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.03.001

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Polak, J., Sedlackova, K., Nacar, D., Landova, E., and Frynta, D. (2016). Fear the serpent: A psychometric study of snake phobia. Psychiatry Res. 242, 163–168. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.05.024

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Polderman, T., Kreukels, B., Irwig, M., Beach, L., Chan, Y. M., Derks, E., et al. (2018). The biological contributions to gender identity and gender diversity: bringing data to the table. Behav. Genet. 48, 95–108. doi: 10.1007/s10519-018-9889-z

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Rachman, S. (1977). The conditioning theory of fear-acquisition: A critical examination. Behav. Res. Ther. 15, 375–387. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(77)90041-9

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Rakison, D. H. (2009). Does women’s greater fear of snakes and spiders originate in infancy? Evol. Hum. Behav. 30, 438–444. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.06.002

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Remmerswaal, D., Muris, P., and Huijding, J. (2013). “watch out for the gerbils, my child!” The role of maternal information on children’s fear in an experimental setting using real animals. Behav. Ther. 44, 317–324. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2013.01.001

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Salcuni, S., Dazzi, C., Mannarini, S., Di Riso, D., and Delvecchio, E. (2015). Parents’ perception of children’s fear: From fssc-it to fssc-pp. Front. Psychol. 6:1199. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01199

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Sawyers, C., Ollendick, T., Brotman, M. A., Pine, D. S., Leibenluft, E., Carney, D. M., et al. (2019). The genetic and environmental structure of fear and anxiety in juvenile twins. Am. J. Med. Genet. B Neuropsychiatr. Genet. 180, 204–212. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.32714

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Schneider-Düker, M., and Kohler, A. (1988). Die Erfassung von Geschlechtsrollen: Ergebnisse zur deutschen Neukonstruktion des BEM sex-role inventory [assessment of sex roles: results of a german version of the bem sex-role inventory]. Diagnostica 34, 256–270.

Google Scholar

Seligman, M. E. P. (1971). Phobias and preparedness. Behav. Ther. 2, 307–320. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7894(71)80064-3

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Signorella, M. L., and Liben, L. S. (1985). Assessing children’s gender-stereotyped attitudes. Psychol. Doc. 15:7.

Google Scholar

Stassart, C., Dardenne, B., and Etienne, A.-M. (2014). Specificity of gender role orientation, biological sex and trait emotional intelligence in child anxiety sensitivity. Personal. Individ. Differ. 71, 165–170. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.07.040

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Stoyanova, M., and Hope, D. A. (2012). Gender, gender roles, and anxiety: perceived confirmability of self report, behavioral avoidance, and physiological reactivity. J. Anxiety Disord. 26, 206–214. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2011.11.006

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Strack, F., and Deutsch, R. (2004). Reflective and impulsive determinants of social behavior. Personal. Soc. Psychol. Rev. 8, 220–247. doi: 10.1207/s15327957pspr0803_1

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Streiner, D. L., and Norman, G. R. (2011). Correction for multiple testing: is there a resolution? Chest 140, 16–18. doi: 10.1378/chest.11-0523

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Tenenbaum, H. R., and Leaper, C. (2002). Are parents’ gender schemas related to their children’s gender-related cognitions? A meta-analysis. Dev. Psychol. 38, 615–630. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.38.4.615

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Tomasetto, C., Mirisola, A., Galdi, S., and Cadinu, M. (2015). Parents’ math-gender stereotypes, children’s self-perception of ability, and children’s appraisal of parents’ evaluations in 6-year-olds. Contemp. Educ. Psychol. 42, 186–198. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2015.06.007

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Trautner, H. M., Ruble, D. N., Cyphers, L., Kirsten, B., Behrendt, R., and Hartmann, P. (2005). Rigidity and flexibility of gender stereotypes in childhood: developmental or differential? Infant Child Dev. 14, 365–381. doi: 10.1002/icd.399

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Tucker, M., and Bond, N. W. (1997). The roles of gender, sex role, and disgust in fear of animals. Personal. Individ. Differ. 22, 135–138. doi: 10.1016/S0191-8869(96)00168-7

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Turner, P. J., and Gervai, J. (1995). A multidimensional study of gender typing in preschool children and their parents: personality, attitudes, preferences, behavior, and cultural differences. Dev. Psychol. 31, 759–772. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.31.5.759

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

van der Bruggen, C. O., and Bögels, S. M. (2012). Girls’ and mothers’ spider fear, maternal control and autonomy granting behavior, and the role of threat intensity during a spider exposure task. J. Exp. Psychopathol. 3, 17–29. doi: 10.5127/jep.017411

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Van Houtem, C. M., Laine, M. L., Boomsma, D. I., Ligthart, L., van Wijk, A. J., and De Jongh, A. (2013). A review and meta-analysis of the heritability of specific phobia subtypes and corresponding fears. J. Anxiety Disord. 27, 379–388. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.04.007

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Wei, C., and Kendall, P. C. (2014). Parental involvement: contribution to childhood anxiety and its treatment. Clin. Child. Fam. Psychol. Rev. 17, 319–339. doi: 10.1007/s10567-014-0170-6

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

White, M. J., and White, G. B. (2006). Implicit and explicit occupational gender stereotypes. Sex Roles 55, 259–266. doi: 10.1007/s11199-006-9078-z

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Yang, B., Ollendick, T. H., Dong, Q., Xia, Y., and Lin, L. (1995). Only children and children with siblings in the people’s Republic of China: levels of fear, anxiety, and depression. Child Dev. 66, 1301–1311. doi: 10.2307/1131648

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Zsido, A. N. (2017). The spider and the snake—a psychometric study of two phobias and insights from the hungarian validation. Psychiatry Res. 257, 61–66. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.07.024

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Keywords: gender differences, specific phobia, fear of snakes, anxiety in children, gender stereotypes, sex differences, social learning, gender roles

Citation: Gerdes ABM, Fraunfelter L-A, Braband M and Alpers GW (2022) Girls’ Stuff? Maternal Gender Stereotypes and Their Daughters’ Fear. Front. Psychol. 12:741348. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.741348

Received: 14 July 2021; Accepted: 02 December 2021;
Published: 06 January 2022.

Edited by:

Mireia Orgilés, Miguel Hernández University of Elche, Spain

Reviewed by:

Jakub Polák, National Institutes of Mental Health (NIH), Czechia
Jaroslava Varella Valentova, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Copyright © 2022 Gerdes, Fraunfelter, Braband and Alpers. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Antje B. M. Gerdes, gerdes@uni-mannheim.de

Download