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Psychology of Men & Masculinity - Vol 18, Iss 1

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Psychology of Men and Masculinity 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 influenced and shaped by gender, and by the process of masculinization, in both its socially constructed and biological forms.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • Integrating self-concept into the relationship between drive for muscularity, and disordered eating and depression, among men.
    Research on men’s health has increasingly recognized the importance of depression and eating disorders among men. The present study sought to extend extant work on self-concept and depression to men, incorporating muscularity-related attitudes and behaviors, and also incorporating risk for disordered eating. Two samples, one of 204 heterosexual college men and one of 197 gay and bisexual men sampled online, were recruited. Participants completed measures of drive for muscularity, self-concept, depression symptoms, and eating disorder symptoms. Data were analyzed using a structural equation model in which the relationships between drive for muscularity attitudes and behaviors, and depression and eating disorder symptoms, were mediated by physical self-concept, global physical self-concept, and self-esteem. The model was supported for the gay and bisexual men sample, but not for the college men sample. Implications for future research with men, and integration of body-related variables into therapy with men, are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The link between men’s zero-sum gender beliefs and mental health: Findings from Chile and Croatia.
    Zero-sum gender beliefs (ZSGBs) refer to the perception that the advancement of a gender outgroup’s rights (e.g., women’s rights) would be at the expense of a gender ingroup’s rights (e.g., men’s rights). Although it seems obvious that men’s ZSGBs could be harmful to women, the authors of this study propose that such beliefs are ultimately also harmful to men’s own mental health. Using multigroup structural equation modeling, this cross-national study tested the link between men’s ZSGBs and psychological distress. Participants were 1,224 men from Chile and Croatia who were in heterosexual relationships and living with their female partners. The results showed that men’s ZSGBs were positively related to psychological distress whereas relationship satisfaction was negatively related to psychological distress. ZSGBs were also negatively associated with participation in domestic tasks and relationship satisfaction whereas childhood exposure to male role models who participated in domestic chores was negatively linked to ZSGBs. These paths were structurally invariant across both countries with 1 exception: the negative association between ZSGBs and relationship satisfaction was stronger among Croatian than among Chilean men. In addition, the authors identified several mediation effects that explained the link between ZSGBs and psychological distress. These results draw attention to the pernicious nature of ZSGBs and the need for gender equality programs to include interventions to reduce men’s ZSGBs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Motivated to seek help: Masculine norms and self-regulated motivation in self-help groups.
    Endorsement of masculine norms has been identified as a factor contributing to men’s lower rates of seeking professional help for physical and emotional distress, compared with women. To better understand the mechanisms for men’s help seeking, in the present study, we applied the framework of self-determination theory (SDT), a theory of development and motivation, (Ryan & Deci, 2000b) to the domain of self-help groups (SHGs). To the SDT framework, we incorporated endorsement of the masculine norms for self-reliance and emotional control as predictors of motivation for help seeking. Data came from surveys completed by 160 attendees of SHGs hosted by the Self-Help and Recovery Exchange (SHARE!) of Los Angeles County. Structural equation analysis supported a model illuminating the links between endorsement of self-reliance and emotional control, autonomous self-regulation for help seeking, fulfillment of basic psychological needs, and well-being in the domain of SHGs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • ‘I am the man’: Meanings of masculinity within perceptions of voluntary medical adult male circumcision as a means to HIV prevention of HIV in South Africa”: Correction to Howard-Payne and Bowman (2016).
    Reports an error in "“I am the Man”: Meanings of Masculinity in Perceptions of Voluntary Medical Adult Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in South Africa" by Lynlee Howard-Payne and Brett Bowman (Psychology of Men & Masculinity, Advanced Online Publication, Feb 25, 2016, np). In the article, the title should have read “ ‘I am the Man’: Meanings of Masculinity in Perceptions of Voluntary Medical Adult Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in South Africa.” All versions of this article have been corrected. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2016-10054-001.) Despite significant financial and human resources mobilized to manage current infections and prevent new cases, HIV, prevalence remains high in South Africa. The intractability of HIV has resulted in calls for the implementation of novel HIV prevention strategies (UNAIDS, 2013), such as Voluntary Medical Adult Male Circumcision (VMAMC) as a part of a comprehensive HIV prevention intervention. Whether traditionally practiced or not, male circumcision is powerfully implicated in meanings of masculinity in South Africa. The national rollout of VMAMC tensions ‘traditional’ masculinity against various biomedical apprehensions, particularly in the language and logic of HIV prevention. As such this paper explores how this tension is negotiated in participants’ perceptions of VMAMC as a South African public health intervention. Semistructured repeat interviews conducted with 30 adult men from Johannesburg were analyzed using a Straussian grounded theory approach. Three primary categories revealed that meanings of masculinity within the context of VMAMC are underpinned (a) by adopting an active role in the fight against HIV in South Africa, (b) as understanding the tension between tradition and medicine, and/or (c) by using ‘tradition’ as a means to reappropriate or reject the practice. These categories suggest that the removal of the foreskin cannot simply be reduced to a biomedical practice on or related to male bodies assumed to be unmediated by culture and history. These findings hold significant implications for the implementation of a national VMAMC HIV prevention program in South Africa. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Are all the nice guys gay? The impact of sociability and competence on the social perception of male sexual orientation.
    Using a person perception paradigm, two studies explored the interplay between target males’ sociability and competence (the “big two” personality dimensions), gender role, and sexual orientation. Study 1 (N = 180) showed that sociable men were considered more likely to be gay than were competent men, which was mediated by the attribution of lower masculinity. In Study 2 (N = 120), target sexual orientation was considered as an independent variable. In the stereotype-congruent condition (gay/sociable vs. heterosexual/competent), gay men were rated more feminine and less masculine than were heterosexual men, whereas in the stereotype-incongruent condition (gay/competent vs. heterosexual/sociable), gay targets were rated less feminine but only equally masculine. Across both studies, the apparent stereotype of the “nice gay guy” was uncorrelated with participants’ attitudes toward or contact with gay men. Results are discussed with regard to the gender-inversion hypothesis, the distinction between (anti)gay stereotypes and prejudice, and the stereotype content model. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Better with age: A health promotion program for men at midlife.
    The current study evaluated a new program designed to improve mental and physical health among middle-age men. The program focused on increasing awareness of health behaviors such as diet, exercise and on improving positive body image messages, self-efficacy and coping skills. Seventy-six men aged 40 to 65 years participated in the study, with 43 men in the intervention group (M = 51.40 years; SD = 7.52 years) and 33 men in the waitlist control group (M = 54.93 years; SD = 4.81 years). Participants in the intervention group attended a 90 min workshop each week for 4 consecutive weeks. Measures of the above target variables were taken preprogram, postprogram, and at 3-month follow-up. The program was effective in improving numerous adaptive coping strategies and body fat percentage at follow-up. In addition, trends toward improving healthy lifestyle factors were observed. Other measures, including self-efficacy and body image, did not reveal significant improvements as a result of the intervention. Findings are discussed in terms of previous research and suggestions for future prevention programs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Masculinity and school adjustment in middle school.
    This study was guided by 2 major goals: to provide a basic description of masculinity during early adolescence and examine associations between masculinity and early adolescents’ school adjustment. Using a sample of 338 middle school students (Mage = 12.49, SDage = 0.43, 54% boys, 42% Latina/o) assessed at 2 time points 1 year apart, we examined whether students’ endorsement and/or adherence to traditional masculinity norms of emotional stoicism and physical toughness varied by sex and ethnicity, and whether these norms changed from the 7th to 8th grades. We then used structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine whether students’ endorsement and adherence to these same norms longitudinally predicted their attitudes toward school and their school engagement. Results showed that boys reported higher levels of masculinity than girls, but there were few differences between Latina/o and White students. Results also showed differing patterns of change in masculinity for boys and girls between the 7th and 8th grades. Finally, for boys and girls alike, masculinity norms (emotional stoicism in particular) were associated with increased school avoidance, decreased school liking, and decreased school engagement 1 year later. Contributions of these findings to the current literature are discussed and future directions of research are offered. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Take it like a man: Gender-threatened men’s experience of gender role discrepancy, emotion activation, and pain tolerance.
    Theory suggests that men respond to situations in which their gender status is threatened with emotions and behaviors meant to reaffirm manhood. However, the extent to which threats to masculine status impact gender role discrepancy (perceived failure to conform to socially prescribed masculine gender role norms) has yet to be demonstrated empirically. Nor has research established whether gender role discrepancy is itself predictive of engagement in gender-stereotyped behavior following threats to gender status. In the present study, we assessed the effect of threats to masculinity on gender role discrepancy and a unique gender-shaped phenomenon, pain tolerance. Two-hundred twelve undergraduate men were randomly assigned to receive feedback that was either threatening to masculine identity or nonthreatening. Over the course of the study, participants also completed measures of gender role discrepancy, emotion activation, and objectively measured pain tolerance. Results indicated that gender threat predicted increased self-perceived gender role discrepancy and elicited aggression, but not anxiety-related cognitions in men. Moreover, gender-threatened men evinced higher pain tolerance than their nonthreatened counterparts. Collectively, these findings provide compelling support for the theory that engagement in stereotyped masculine behavior may serve a socially expressive function intended to quell negative affect and realign men with the status of “manhood.” (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • “I am the man”: Meanings of masculinity in perceptions of voluntary medical adult male circumcision for HIV prevention in South Africa.
    [Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 18(1) of Psychology of Men & Masculinity (see record 2016-17450-001). In the article, the title should have read “ ‘I am the Man’: Meanings of Masculinity in Perceptions of Voluntary Medical Adult Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in South Africa.” All versions of this article have been corrected.] Despite significant financial and human resources mobilized to manage current infections and prevent new cases, HIV, prevalence remains high in South Africa. The intractability of HIV has resulted in calls for the implementation of novel HIV prevention strategies (UNAIDS, 2013), such as Voluntary Medical Adult Male Circumcision (VMAMC) as a part of a comprehensive HIV prevention intervention. Whether traditionally practiced or not, male circumcision is powerfully implicated in meanings of masculinity in South Africa. The national rollout of VMAMC tensions ‘traditional’ masculinity against various biomedical apprehensions, particularly in the language and logic of HIV prevention. As such this paper explores how this tension is negotiated in participants’ perceptions of VMAMC as a South African public health intervention. Semistructured repeat interviews conducted with 30 adult men from Johannesburg were analyzed using a Straussian grounded theory approach. Three primary categories revealed that meanings of masculinity within the context of VMAMC are underpinned (a) by adopting an active role in the fight against HIV in South Africa, (b) as understanding the tension between tradition and medicine, and/or (c) by using ‘tradition’ as a means to reappropriate or reject the practice. These categories suggest that the removal of the foreskin cannot simply be reduced to a biomedical practice on or related to male bodies assumed to be unmediated by culture and history. These findings hold significant implications for the implementation of a national VMAMC HIV prevention program in South Africa. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Dude looks like a feminist!: Moral concerns and feminism among men.
    Even though male participation in feminism is essential to its success, it is possible that men are reluctant to get involved in the movement because of its primary association with women (Holmgren & Hearn, 2009). This research investigated whether certain moral concerns contribute to men endorsing feminism. According to the moral foundations theory (MFT), there are five moral concerns: harm (i.e., the concern for someone’s physical and emotional well-being), fairness (i.e., the concern for equality and justice), ingroup (i.e., the concern for loyalty to group membership), authority (i.e., the concern for tradition and the social hierarchy), and purity (i.e., the concern for physical and spiritual cleanliness; Graham et al., 2011). Graham, Haidt, and Nosek (2009) found that harm and fairness correlate to liberalism; therefore we predicted that men’s feminism would be associated with an increased emphasis on those moral concerns and a decreased emphasis on ingroup, authority, and purity. Using an online survey methodology, participants were assessed on various aspects of feminism and morality. The results generally supported our predictions that higher support for conservative moral concerns correlates to less endorsement of feminism, whereas higher support for liberal moral concerns correlates to more endorsement of feminism, even when controlling for political ideology. This research contributes to our understanding of male resistance to and support of the feminist movement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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