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Preview: Psychology of Men & Masculinity - Vol 11, Iss 1

Psychology of Men & Masculinity - Vol 18, Iss 4

This twice yearly journal is devoted to the dissemination of research, theory, and clinical scholarship that advances the discipline of the psychology of men and masculinity. This discipline is defined broadly as the study of how men’s psychology is

Last Build Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2017 05:00:21 GMT


Masculine norms, peer group, pornography, Facebook, and men’s sexual objectification of women.

Thu, 30 Jun 2016 04:00:00 GMT

In this study, we examined the relations between 3 dimensions of traditional masculine gender role adherence (playboy, power over women, and violence) and likelihood to sexually objectify women via body evaluation and making unwanted sexual advances. In addition, we examined the moderating roles of association with a male peer group that abuses women, pornography consumption, and Facebook use in these links. Participants were 329 heterosexually identified undergraduate men who completed an online survey. Results revealed that endorsement of playboy and violence masculine norms and higher levels of pornography use uniquely predicted more body evaluation of women. Pornography use, Facebook use, the interaction of playboy norms and association with abusive male peers, the interaction of power over women norms and association with abusive male peers, and the interaction of violence norms and association with abusive male peers were unique predictors of making unwanted sexual advances. Conformity to playboy, power over women, and violence masculine norms each predicted making unwanted sexual advances toward women for men with high association with abusive male peers but not low or moderate association with abusive male peers. The findings underscore the need to target adherence to traditional masculine norms, negative male peer group associations, and pornography and Facebook use in interventions aimed at reducing men’s sexual objectification of women. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Exploring the positive experiences of heterosexual fathers who parent gay sons: A phenomenological approach.

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 04:00:00 GMT

The relationship between a father and son is essential to the lives of many men, including those of heterosexual fathers and their gay sons. However, little research has examined how fathers understand this specific relationship pairing. While this connection between father and son has been popularized by the media as one of contention, it may also be a space of support and strength for some men. Herein, we explore the positive aspects of the relationship between young gay men and their fathers through fathers’ eyes. Five heterosexual fathers participated in written activities and interviews about their father–son relationships. Seven overall themes were explicated from the data: (a) Fathers had a diversity of emotional reactions to their sons being gay; (b) Fathers expressed love to their sons in different ways; (c); Fathers viewed the father–son relationship as both changed and not changed after sons’ coming out; (d) Fathers valued a deep connection to their sons; (e) Fathers were personally and positively changed by having gay sons; (f) Fathers had normative parental concerns unrelated to their sons being gay; and (g) Fathers varied in how and from whom they sought support. Clinical implications and future directions are explored. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

The risks of being “manly”: Masculine norms and drinking game motives, behaviors, and related consequences among men.

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 04:00:00 GMT

Research suggests a link between masculine norms and drinking behaviors and related consequences; however, the mechanisms of risk are not well understood, particularly with respect to drinking games. The present study helps bridge the masculinity and alcohol use literatures by examining the mechanisms by which certain masculine norms (i.e., winning, risk taking, heterosexual presentation, power over women, and playboy norms) are directly associated with drinking game behaviors and consequences, and indirectly by way of increased motivations to play drinking games for competition reasons, for enhancement/thrills, and/or to sexually manipulate others. Participants completed anonymous self-report surveys and consisted of young adult men who were current drinkers and drinking gamers (N = 905). Controlling for typical alcohol use on nondrinking game occasions, results indicated that certain masculine norms (i.e., heterosexual presentation, risk taking, and power over women) were directly associated with drinking game behaviors and/or consequences. Consistent with motivational models of alcohol use, conformity to masculine norms was also indirectly related to drinking game behaviors and consequences through their associations with specific drinking game motives. Both power over women and playboy norms were indirectly related to negative drinking game consequences through their positive associations with sexual manipulation motives. In addition, risk taking, winning, and playboy norms were indirectly related to drinking game behaviors and related consequences by way of increased endorsement of enhancement/thrills motives. Finally, risk taking, winning, and power over women were indirectly related to drinking game frequency through their positive associations with competition motives. Implications for intervention and future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

It’s not a joke: Masculinity ideology and homophobic language.

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 04:00:00 GMT

In this exploratory study, we examined the influence of traditional masculinity ideology on adults’ perceptions of a homophobic slur among youth. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 vignettes describing an incident in which a 5, 10, or 15-year-old boy overhears the word “fag.” Participants then answered questions regarding the acceptability of the word, likelihood of use, and likelihood of intervention by teachers and peers. They also completed the Male Role Norms Inventory–Short Form (MRNI-SF; Levant, Hall, & Rankin, 2013). Age of boys in the scenario affected participants’ perception of likelihood to happen and sexual orientation of participant affected intervention expectations. Novel to the study, results indicated that MRNI-SF scores significantly influenced the acceptability of the use of the word “fag,” as well as whether participants thought the teacher and peers should intervene. These findings strengthen literature suggesting a connection between endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology and homophobia. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Sexual violence, masculinity, and the journey of recovery.

Thu, 16 Jun 2016 04:00:00 GMT

Sexual violence has been recognized as one of the most frequent forms of lived trauma worldwide (World Health Organization, 2013). Given their predominance as survivors, women have been the almost exclusive focus of research and support in this area to date. However, the growing number of studies exploring the sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape of boys and men has broadened the discourse around sexual violence and gender identity. Although the profound consequences are common to survivors regardless of gender, it is evident that particular aspects are connected to the manner in which the trauma is processed and expressed. There is a dearth of evidence on the experiences of men who seek professional help, such as counseling, nonetheless. Given the increasing number of male survivors accessing Irish Rape Crisis Centres (RCCs; Rape Crisis Network Ireland, 2015), the need for counselors to have knowledge of gender relevant interventions is of vital importance. In this article, we explore how norms of masculinity influence the recovery process in the context of RCC counseling in the Republic of Ireland. The findings enhance our understanding of the gendered nature of healing and have important implications for practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

The influence of conventional masculine gender role norms on parental attitudes toward seeking psychological services for children.

Mon, 27 Jun 2016 04:00:00 GMT

Paternal involvement in parent training programs has been associated with greater maintenance of treatment gains, lower attrition rates, and less maternal stress. However, male caregivers are less likely to participate in behavioral parent training (BPT) programs than female caregivers. The present study examined (a) the differences between mothers and fathers in their attitudes toward seeking help for their children, and (b) whether parents’ adherence to masculine gender role norms mediated the proposed relationship between parent sex and attitudes toward seeking psychological help for children. Fifty-two parents (women n = 26; men n = 26) completed the Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale (ATSPPHS), Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale–Parent Form (ATSPPHS-P), Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory (CMNI), and Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI). Fathers had significantly poorer attitudes toward seeking mental health services for their children than mothers. Additionally, parents’ conformity to masculine gender role norms correlated negatively and significantly with their attitudes toward help-seeking for their children. As expected, parents’ conformity to masculine gender role norms mediated the relationship between parent sex and attitudes toward seeking help for children. These findings suggest that, regardless of sex, parents’ adherence to masculine gender role norms may lead to negative attitudes toward seeking psychological help for their child. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

“There are too many gay categories now”: Discursive constructions of gay masculinity.

Thu, 16 Jun 2016 04:00:00 GMT

“Masculine capital” refers to the social power afforded by the display of traits and behaviors that are associated with orthodox, stereotypical masculinity. Men who are concerned with their masculine identity may utilize these traits and behaviors to increase their overall masculine capital, and to mitigate “failures” in other domains of masculinity. However, their success at accruing and trading masculine capital may be limited, because different traits and behaviors are not equal in the capital they convey, and their value may vary depending on the social context in which they are deployed. Research suggests that heterosexuality contributes more to masculine capital than other stereotypically masculine characteristics: The possibilities for gay men to accrue and trade masculine capital may therefore be particularly limited, especially in heteronormative contexts. Focus groups were undertaken with gay men, straight women, and straight men living in a coastal city in the south of England to explore discursive constructions of gay masculinity, and to examine gay men’s possibilities for accruing and trading masculine capital. Discourse analysis identified constructions of gay masculinity in reference to hegemonic masculinity, where gay men may acquire masculine capital in similar ways to straight men. However, the meaning and value of this capital may also vary, because certain characteristics and behaviors may have different value for and between gay men than they do for straight men, and in heteronormative contexts. The analysis also identified discourses of gay masculinity where it was not constructed as a singular entity, but rather as complex, multiple, and diverse. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

A qualitative analysis of perceptions of precarious manhood in U.S. and Danish men.

Mon, 25 Jul 2016 04:00:00 GMT

Manhood and masculinity have been studied extensively in different academic disciplines and in a variety of contexts. Research shows that becoming (and being) a man in the United States is not an easy task, as manhood is a precarious status that must be actively and publicly achieved and maintained. Previous research has not, to our knowledge, asked men to explain their own perceptions of precariousness or contrasted modern, industrialized countries that differ on key cultural variables, such as egalitarianism. In the current study, we interviewed college-aged, heterosexual, Caucasian men (9 from the United States and 9 from Denmark). We asked how manhood is achieved, how it is maintained, if it can be lost, and the role of masculinity. Results showed similarities in the men’s understanding of manhood (e.g., U.S. and Danish men both talked about manhood in terms of acting like an adult and protecting others), but the 2 groups also differed in important ways. The U.S. men described the need to show manhood through athleticism (what the male body “does”) and the rejection of femininity whereas the Danish men described the physical embodiment of manhood (what the male body “is”) and the importance of having a feminine side. Furthermore, U.S. men contrasted manhood to womanhood whereas Danish men contrasted manhood to boyhood. Based on these conceptualizations, we argue that the Danish men viewed manhood as less precarious than the U.S. men did, and conclude that understandings of masculinity and the precariousness of manhood vary cross-culturally and are tied to broader sociocultural values. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Responsible or reckless men? Sexuopharmaceutical messages differentiated by sexual identity of users.

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 04:00:00 GMT

This study focuses on popularized representations of sexual enhancement medication (SEM) use. Relying on online forums, a discourse analytic approach (i.e., treating talk as action and as identity practice; Wetherell & Edley, 2014) examines how these portrayals are positioned within dominant discourses about male sexuality and masculinity. Intending to examine both SEM user testimonials and health expert advice about recreational SEM use, we found that men who have sex with men (MSM) user narratives were virtually nonexistent; only men who have sex with women (MSW) user narratives were locatable. SEM experiences of MSM are consistently filtered through health advocacy warnings about risks, in both mainstream and queer sites. Two prominent discourses emerged: SEM among MSW—legitimacy, heteronormativity, and relationship preservation and SEM among MSM—recreation, risk, and excess. The skewed representation of SEM used by MSM in empirical literature and sexual health advice and the omission of MSM from mainstream marketing, is shaping health discourses that link recreational uses of these drugs with gay men and risky sexual behavior (Wentzell, 2011). This reflects a broader cultural rhetoric that associates the sexuality of MSM with sexual health risks and concurrent illicit drug use. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

“That whole macho male persona thing”: The role of insults in young Australian male friendships.

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 04:00:00 GMT

Same-sex friendship can increase an individual’s health, happiness, and sense of social connectedness. To date, few studies have explored young men’s accounts of their friendships and the communication strategies within close male friendships. The present qualitative study explored the ways in which 7 young, White, heterosexual, working/middle-class men from rural Victoria construct their understanding of their friendships and the discursive strategies used to signify meaning, specifically the role of insults, in close male friendships. Drawing on tools from discursive theory, thematic analysis of the data demonstrated that discursive strategies including insults, silences, and direct interrogation were used to signify closeness, gratefulness, concern, and masculinity and dominance. These discursive strategies are informed by hegemonic representations of masculinity, which the young men negotiate within everyday interactions with close male friends. The findings further support past research that suggests that in the absence of explicit verbal expression of closeness, male friendships can be intimate and psychosocially significant. It is suggested that health promotion in men should focus on informal spaces where men can enjoy each other’s company. By exploring the breadth of communication styles and strategies of men, we are better equipped to understand men’s needs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Searching for masculine capital: Experiences leading to high drive for muscularity in men.

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 04:00:00 GMT

Studies on the drive for muscularity (DFM) have primarily been quantitative, focused on identifying correlates. Currently little is known about men’s experiences leading them to desire high levels of muscle and engage in behaviors to increase their masculine capital. Our purpose was to explore the stories of men with high DFM revealing the sociocultural and personal factors leading to DFM and their search for masculine capital. In-depth life-history interviews and multiple in-the-field conversations were undertaken with 20 men (Mean age = 28.45, SD = 6.96, years) scoring ≥3 on the Drive for Muscularity Scale (M = 4.30, SD = 0.70). Men’s stories focused on a set of dysfunctional childhood and adolescent sociocultural interactions, including forms of symbolic violence, between them and significant others. In these interactions men were exposed to dominant social narratives of masculinity, and through comparisons and reinforcement they identified discrepancies between themselves and these narratives. In late adolescence and early adulthood men came to believe that they lacked masculine capital. Men struggled to increase their masculine capital through engagement with other traditional masculine activities (e.g., sport) and driven by activating events, they compensated through DFM desires and behaviors. This study advances knowledge by revealing the sociocultural and personal processes participants believed led to their high DFM. Findings disclose that men’s search for masculine capital may have led them to develop and maintain high levels of DFM. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Men’s collective action willingness: Testing different theoretical models of protesting gender inequality for women and men.

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 04:00:00 GMT

The present study compares models of collective action to reduce gender inequality. The dual pathway model argues that identification with the disadvantaged group along with anger and group efficacy predict collective action. Social dominance theory argues that general support for intergroup equality and rejecting sexist beliefs in particular motivate collective action. Structural equation modeling revealed that both models were supported but were moderated by gender. Men’s support for equality increased opposition to sexism, which was associated with collective action willingness, and women’s ingroup identification predicted anger and group efficacy, which predicted collective action willingness. In all, the present study demonstrates the utility of theoretical pluralism and has implications for programs and interventions that seek to encourage women and men to engage in collective action. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Posttraumatic stress mediates traditional masculinity ideology and romantic relationship satisfaction in veteran men.

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 04:00:00 GMT

Veteran men have high rates of adherence to traditional masculinity ideology, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and romantic relationship dissatisfaction. However, there is a paucity of studies investigating how these constructs relate to one another in veteran men. We examined the relation between masculinity ideology and relationship satisfaction and the extent to which this relation was mediated by PTSD symptoms. Next, we tested this mediating effect with traditional male role norms hypothesized to inhibit cognitive-emotional processing of traumatic events (i.e., self-reliance, toughness, dominance, restrictive emotionality) and male role norms with no hypothesized relation with cognitive–emotional processing (i.e., avoidance of femininity, importance of sex, negativity toward sexual minorities). Participants were veteran men with a history of military-related trauma who were in a romantic relationship at the time of study participation (N = 76). Veterans completed measures of traditional masculinity ideology endorsement, PTSD symptoms, and relationship satisfaction. Findings indicated that PTSD partially mediated the association between endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology and relationship functioning in veterans. These findings can be used to inform PTSD interventions with veteran men and their romantic partners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Masculinity beliefs and colorectal cancer screening in male veterans.

Thu, 16 Jun 2016 04:00:00 GMT

As the third most common cause of cancer death among U.S. men, colorectal cancer (CRC) represents a significant threat to men’s health. Although adherence to CRC screening has the potential to reduce CRC mortality by approximately half, men’s current rates of adherence fall below national screening objectives. In qualitative studies, men have reported foregoing screenings involving the rectum (e.g., colonoscopy) due to concern about breaching masculinity norms. However, the extent to which masculinity beliefs predict men’s CRC screening adherence has yet to be examined. The current study tested the hypothesis that greater endorsement of masculinity beliefs (i.e., self-reliance, risk-taking, heterosexual self-presentation, and primacy of work) would be associated with a lower likelihood of adherence to CRC screening with any test and with colonoscopy specifically. Participants were 327 men ages 51–75 years at average risk for CRC who were accessing primary care services at a midwestern Veterans Affairs medical center. Contrary to hypotheses, masculinity beliefs did not predict CRC screening outcomes in hierarchical regression analyses that controlled for demographic predictors of screening. Although results are largely inconsistent with masculinity theory and prior qualitative findings, further research is needed to determine the degree to which findings generalize to other populations and settings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

The impact of outward bound programming on psychosocial functioning for male military veterans.

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 04:00:00 GMT

This pilot study examined male U.S. military veterans’ change in overall mental health symptoms after attending an Outward Bound for Veterans (OB4V) course. Two hundred and forty two male veterans, primarily serving in Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn were assigned to either a treatment group or a waitlist control group. Data were collected before and within 1 week after OB4V course attendance. Overall mental health symptoms (outcome) and level of conformity to masculine norms (moderator) were measured using the Outcomes Questionnaire-45 (OQ-45) total score and the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory. Results indicated participation in OB4V had a significant effect on veterans’ overall mental health symptoms. Conformity to traditional masculine norms did not moderate change in OQ-45 scores, suggesting veterans attain similar mental health improvement following OB4V regardless of conformity level (i.e., low, medium, or high) to masculine norms. Findings indicate that OB4V provides male veterans a therapeutic intervention to improve overall mental health symptoms. OB4V and similar therapeutic adventure approaches may provide a culture-centered approach to meet the unique needs of men and veterans. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

A pilot study of the impact of sexist attitudes on male survivors of rape.

Mon, 27 Jun 2016 04:00:00 GMT

The trauma literature strongly points to the role of cognitive mechanisms, particularly maladaptive beliefs, in posttrauma functioning. The present pilot study considered whether sexist attitudes are related to postrape psychopathology among college men. A sample of 16 male college students who reported being survivors of rape completed measures of sexual victimization, sexism, and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). Linear regression revealed that greater self-reported hostile sexism was associated with significantly greater levels of PTSS and greater benevolent sexism was associated with significantly lower levels of PTSS. The current pilot study provides preliminary evidence that sexist attitudes are important influences in terms of psychopathology among male rape survivors. These findings should guide future research and, if replicated, could inform clinicians during assessment and treatment planning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Examining the mediating role of alexithymia in the association between childhood neglect and disordered eating behaviors in men and women.

Mon, 25 Jul 2016 04:00:00 GMT

The mechanisms through which childhood neglect leads to disordered eating behaviors are not well-understood, and these phenomena have been particularly understudied in men. The current study examined the associations between physical and emotional neglect occurring in childhood and 2 types of disordered eating symptoms (binge eating and drive for muscularity) among college men and women. Specifically, it was hypothesized that the relations between childhood physical and emotional neglect and eating disorder symptoms would be mediated by alexithymia. Participants (N = 1344) completed self-report measures through an online system. Four moderated mediation models were tested to examine our proposed mediation model in the context of potential gender differences. Consistent with prediction, our analyses revealed significant associations between childhood physical and emotional neglect and 2 types of disordered eating symptoms, and alexithymia mediated these relationships. Contrary to our hypothesis, gender moderated the relationship between alexithymia and binge eating, but not drive for muscularity. Childhood neglect, both physical and emotional, was associated with higher levels of binge eating in women, but not men. These findings suggest that the experience of neglect in early childhood may be related to certain types of eating disorder symptoms through its impact on the ability to identify, experience, and express one’s own emotions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)