Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Gender, Adult Structuring of Activities and Social Behavior in Middle Childhood
Huston, A.C., Carpenter, C.J., Atwater, J.B., & Johnson, L.M.
Child Development, 57.5 (1986) 1200-1209

Examine relationship of gender, high and low adult structured and guided activities and adolescent social behavior.

110 children (56 boys, 54 girls) ages 7-14, at a series of 1-week summer day camps.

Observation, Children's Personal Attributes Questionnaire.


  • Adult feedback to children in high-structured activity more frequent than in low-structured activity with adult female providing more feedback than did the adult male in both high- and low-structured activities.
  • Girls chose high-structured activities significantly more often than boys.
  • Girls showed higher rates of initiating social interaction than did boys.
  • Campers directed more social behavior toward adults when in high-structured activities.
  • Campers directed more social behaviors to peers in low-structured activities, more often to same gender peers.
  • Male and female campers both exhibited high rates of attempts at leadership, seeking recognition and complying with adults in high-structured activities.
  • High rates of attempts at leadership, compliance and recognition seeking to same gender peers was seen in low-structured activities.
  • Most frequent behavior toward adults was in seeking help and recognition.
  • Most frequent behavior toward peers were leadership attempts.

"Gender influences selection of environments; the level of adult structure in those environments affects social behavior and perhaps modifies social skills or preferences; and personal characteristics in turn predict choice of environments."