Sex Differences in Response to School Failure

Caplan, Paula J.; Kinsbourne, Marcel
April 1974
Journal of Learning Disabilities;Apr1974, Vol. 7 Issue 4, p232
Academic Journal
Boys have difficulties in learning far more often than girls. While girls' relatively more advanced cognitive development may account for some of this difference, the present questionnaire study of 222 grade school children shows that sex differences In emotional response to failure could amplify the effect. Failing girls have the alternative of pleasing the teacher by good behavior, a so-called feminine attribute, whereas most failing boys have to resort to excellence in sports or leadership, qualities which are less valued and not readily accessible in the classroom. Failing girls' acceptable social behavior receives the teacher's approval, whereas failing boys behave antisocially, which further discredits them with the teacher, setting up a vicious cycle.


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