Numminen, P., & Saakslahti, A. (1996, October). Gender differences - Are they dominant already in the early years? AIESEP Newsletter, 53, 4.

Gender differences among 6- to 8-year-old children reveal that boys are better in skills needing speed, muscular strength, and endurance while girls are better in motor skills needing balance and flexibility. The purpose of this study was to assess whether gender differences already exist in 3 and 4-year-old children and if so, which skills revealed the differences.

Boys (N = 50) and girls (N = 55) were compared on a number of standardized skill tests (APM-test battery: Numminen, P. (1995). Alle kouluikaisten lasten havaintomotorisia ja motorisia perustaitoja mittaavan APM-testiston kasikirja. Jyvaskyla, LIKES, 98.)

Hardly any gender differences in fundamental motor skills studied were revealed. The boys seemed to score better, similarly to the older children, in skills demanding strength and precision and the girls better in balance, timing, and body control.

Implication. Although no gender differences were revealed in the cross-sectional investigation there is a hint that differences could be emerging in this age group. A longitudinal-study needs to be conducted to see if this development is phylogenetic or socially learned.

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