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Revisiting a basic question: does growing up in either female or male environment affect sex differences in academic strengths and occupational choices?

Daniel Fellman (), Richard Bränström and Agneta Herlitz ()
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Daniel Fellman: Karolinska Institutet
Richard Bränström: Karolinska Institutet
Agneta Herlitz: Karolinska Institutet

Palgrave Communications, 2021, vol. 8, issue 1, 1-10

Abstract: Abstract Are we affected by growing up in either female or male environment? This study examined whether girls’ and boys’ academic strengths at age 16 in verbal/language school subjects, relative to technical/numerical subjects, and cognitive demands of a chosen occupation at age 35 are influenced by having same- or opposite-sex siblings. Using representative population data from Swedish registers, we extracted (Study 1) 3-sibling families (N = 17,233), focusing on the mid-born, and (Study 2) 2-sibling families (N = 118,688), focusing on the last-born child. Both studies demonstrated that individuals’ academic strengths were unaffected by sibship composition. Study 2 showed that boys with a sister tended to choose more numerically demanding occupations as compared to boys with a brother. Taken together, growing up in a more or less female or male environment, that is, having same- or opposite-sex siblings does not impact one’s tendency to be academically more or less verbally or numerically aligned.

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1057/s41599-021-00897-5

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