Teachers’ and parents’ reports on 3- to 6-year-old children’s sexual behavior: a comparison
2002 (English)In: International Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect, ISSN 0145-2134, E-ISSN 1873-7757, Vol. 26, no 3, 247-266 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Objectives: The main purpose of the study was to compare observed range and frequency of sexual behavior in 3- to 6-year-olds in two different environments: the home and the daycare center. The study also aimed to investigate parental and staff opinions on child sexual behavior.
Methods: Parents and daycare teachers of 185 preschool children, from different socio-economic housing areas, answered extensive questionnaires about each child’s sexual and general behavior. They were also asked about their own opinions on child sexual behavior.
Results: Parents observed significantly more sexual behavior in their children at home compared to teachers’ observations at the daycare centers in all age groups, while teachers reported more general behavior problems. Significant gender differences on sexual behavior were displayed at the daycare centers but not at home. Rare behaviors at home were also very unusual at the daycare center. Parental and staff attitudes toward child sexuality were quite open, although 67% of the parents and 41% of the teachers never spoke to the children on sexual matters. One fifth of the adults used no term for genitals at all, and even fewer had a name for girls’ genitals.
Conclusions: The findings indicate that young children explore their sexuality more at home than in settings with groups of children where the daily activities may be more structured and monitored. It enhances the importance of looking at the context in which the sexual behavior is taking place when investigating problematic sexual behavior.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 26, no 3, 247-266 p.
National CategoryMedical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-26515DOI: 10.1016/S0145-2134(01)00323-4Local ID: 11072OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-26515DiVA: diva2:247064