Children’s self-concept and theory of mind are both important factors in children’s social, cognitive and emotional development. Research on gender differences in children’s theory of mind understanding reveals contradictory findings such as higher degree of social understanding or theory of mind in girls (Villaneuva Badenes, Clemente Estevan, & Garcia Bacete 2000), boys score higher than girls (Russell et al., 2007), or no gender differences at all (Villaneuva Badenes, Clemente Estevan, & Garcia Bacete, 2000). This research study is part of a larger 3-year longitudinal study, investigating children’s social and emotional development during middle childhood. This study explores the gendered relations between self-concept and social understanding (including psychological language) in middle school aged children (n = 49, ages 11-13). Results suggest a negative correlation between boys’ sense of self-worth and psychological language. Implications for curriculum development that promotes socio-emotional literacy within middle school are discussed
Bosacki, S. (2008). Children’s Emotional Lives: Sensitive Shadows in the Classroom. New York: Peter Lang.
Bosacki, S. (1998). Th eory of Mind in Preadolescence: Connections Among Social Understanding, Self-Concept, and Social Relations. Doctoral dissertation. University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Brown, J.R. & Dunn, J. (1996). Continuities in emotion understanding from three to six years. Child Development, 67 (3), 789-802.
Brown, J.R., Donelan-McCall, N., & Dunn, J. (1996). Why talk about mental states? Th e signifi cance of children’s conversations with friends, siblings, and mothers. Child Development, 67 (3), 836-884.
Bruner, J. (1996). Th e Culture of Education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Bussey, K. & Bandura, A. (2004). Social cognitive theory of gender development and functioning. In A. Eagly, A. Beall, & R. Sternberg (Eds.), Th e Psychology of Gender (pp. 92-119). New York: Guilford.
Cahill, K., Deater-Deckard, K., Pike, A., Hughes, C. (2007). Th eory of mind, selfworth and the mother-child relationship. Social Development, 16 (1), 45-56.
Carpendale, J.M. & Lewis, C. (2004). Constructing an understanding of mind: Th e development of children’s social understanding within social interaction. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27 (1), 79-96.
Chapman, M. (1991). Th e epistemic triangle: Operative and communicative components of cognitive development. In M. Chandler & M. Chapman (Eds.), Cri teria for Competence: Controversies in the Conceptualization and Assessment of Children’s Abilities (pp. 209-228). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Cutt ing, A.L. & Dunn, J. (1999). Th eory of mind, emotion understanding, language, and family background: Individual diff erences and interrelations. Child Development, 70 (4), 853-865.
Denham, S.A., Zoller, D., & Couchard, E.A. (1994). Socialisation of preschoolers’ emotion understanding. Developmental Psychology, 30 (6), 928-936. de Rosnay, M. & Hughes, C. (2006). Conversation and theory of mind: Do children talk their way to sociocognitive understanding? British Journal of Development Psychology, 24 (1), 7-37. de Villiers, J. (2000). Language and theory of mind: What are the developmental relationships? In S. Baron-Cohen, H. Tager-Flusberg, & D.J. Cohen (Eds.), Understanding Other Minds: Perspectives from Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (pp. 83-123). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dunn, J., Brown, J., & Beardsall, L. (1991). Family talk about feeling states and children’s later understanding of others’ emotions. Developmental Psychology, 27 (3), 448-455.
Furnham, A. & Calnan, A. (1998). Eating disturbance, self-esteem, reasons for exer cising and body weight dissatisfaction in adolescent males. European Eating Dis orders Review, 6 (1), 58-72.
Guajardo, N.R. & Watson, A.C. (2002). Narrative discourse and theory of mind development. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 163 (3), 305-325.
Happe, F.G.E. (1995). Th e role of age and verbal ability in the theory of mind task performance of subjects with autism. Child Development, 66 (3), 843-855.
Harris, P.L. (1999) Acquiring the art of conversation. In M. Bennett (Ed.), Developmental Psychology: Achievements and Prospects (pp. 89-105). Hove: Psychology Press.
Harter, S. (1985). Manual for the Self-Perception Profi le for Children (SPPC). Denver: University of Denver.
Harter, S. (1996). Teacher and classmate infl uences on scholastic motivation, selfesteem, and level of voice in adolescents. In J. Juvonen & K. Wentzel (Eds.), Social Motivation: Understanding Children’s School Adjustment (pp. 11-42). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Hughes, C. & Dunn, J. (1998). Understanding mind and emotion: Longitudinal associations with mental-state talk between young friends. Developmental Psychology, 34 (5), 1026-1037.
Jenkins, J.M. & Astington, J.W. (1996). Cognitive factors and family structure associated with theory of mind development in young children. Developmental Psychology, 32 (1), 70-78. Lalonde, C.E. & Chandler, M.J. (1995). False belief understanding goes to school: On the socialemotional consequences of coming early or late to a fi rst theory of mind. Cognition and Emotion, 9 (2-3), 167-185. Lewis, C., Freeman, N.H., Kyriakidou, C., Maridaki-Kassoaki, K., & Berridge, D.M. (1996). Social influence on false belief access: Specific sibling influences or general apprenticeship? Child Development, 67 (6), 2930-2947.
Lu, H., Su, Y., & Wang, Q. (2008). Talking about others facilitates theory of mind in Chinese preschoolers. Developmental Psychology, 44 (6), 1726-1736.
Maccoby, E. (1990). Gender and relationships: A developmental account. American Psychologist, 45 (4), 513-520.
McCreary Centre Society. (2004). Healthy Youth Development: Highlights from the 2003 Adolescent Health Survey. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Author.
Meins, E. (1997). Security of Att achment and the Social Development of Cognition. Hove: Psychology Press.
Piaget, J. (1945/1962) Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood. New York: Norton. (Original work published 1945).
Ricciardelli, L.A. & McCabe, M.P. (2007). Th e muscular ideal: Psychological, social, and medical perspectives. In J. K. Th ompson & G. Cafri (Eds), Pursuit of Muscularity Among Adolescents (pp. 199-216). Washington, DC: American Psy chological Association.
Ruff man, T., Slade, L., & Crowe, E. (2002) Th e relation between children’s and mothers’ mental state language and theory-of-mind understanding. Child Development, 73 (3), 734-751.
Ruff man, T., Slade, L., Devitt , K., & Crowe, E. (2006). What mothers say and what they do: Th e relation between parenting, theory of mind, language and confl ict/cooperation. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 24 (1), 105-124.
Slade, L. & Ruff man, T. (2005). How language does (and does not) relate to theory of mind: A longitudinal study of syntax, semantics, working memory and false belief. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 23 (1), 117-141.
Slomkowski, C. & Dunn, J. (1996). Young children’s understanding of other people’s beliefs and feelings and their connected communication with friends. Developmental Psvchology, 32 (3), 442-447.
Saarni, C. (1984). An observational study of children’s att empts to monitor their expressive behavior. Child Development, 55 (4), 1504-1513.
Symons, D.K. (2004). Mental state discourse, theory of mind, and the internalization of self-other understanding. Developmental Review, 24 (2), 159-188.
Taumoepeau, M. & Ruff man, T. (2006). Mother and infant talk about mental states relates to desire language and emotion understanding. Child Development, 77 (2), 465-481.
Taumoepeau, M. & Ruff man, T. (2008). Stepping stones to others’ minds: Maternal talk relates to child mental state language and emotion understanding at 15, 24 and 33 months. Child Development, 79 (2), 284-302.
Villanueva Badenes, L., Clemente Estevan, R.A., & Garcia Bacete, F.J. (2000). Theory of mind and peer rejection at school. Social Development, 9 (3), 271-283. Vygotsky, L.S. (1934/1987). Th inking and speech. In R.W. Rieber & A.S. Carton (Eds.), Th e Collected Works of L.S. Vygotsky. Vol. 1 (pp. 37-285). New York: Plenum Press. (Original work published 1934).
Wellman, H.M. (2002). Understanding the psychological world: Developing a theory of mind. In U. Goswami (Ed.), Handbook of Childhood Cognitive Development (pp. 167-187). Oxford: Blackwell.