Pretty as a Princess: Longitudinal Effects of Engagement With Disney Princesses on Gender Stereotypes, Body Esteem, and Prosocial Behavior in Children


Gender, Gender stereotypes, body image, children, adolescent behavior


This study examined level of engagement with Disney Princess media/products as it relates to gender‐stereotypical behavior, body esteem (i.e. body image), and prosocial behavior during early childhood. Participants consisted of 198 children (Mage = 58 months), who were tested at two time points (approximately 1 year apart). Data consisted of parent and teacher reports, and child observations in a toy preference task. Longitudinal results revealed that Disney Princess engagement was associated with more female gender‐stereotypical behavior 1 year later, even after controlling for initial levels of gender‐stereotypical behavior. Parental mediation strengthened associations between princess engagement and adherence to female gender‐stereotypical behavior for both girls and boys, and for body esteem and prosocial behavior for boys only.

Original Publication Citation

Coyne, S. M., Linder, J. R., Rasmussen, E. E., Nelson, D. A. & *Birkbeck, V. (2016). Pretty as a princess: Longitudinal effects of engagement with Disney Princesses on gender stereotypes, body esteem, and prosocial behavior in children. Child Development, 87, 1909-1925.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Child Development




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor