A review of research on masculinity ideologies using the male role norms inventory.
In the Gender Role Strain Paradigm, the acquisition of gender roles is thought not to be an invariant process leading to the development of clusters of sex-typed personality traits that reside in individuals (as was thought in the older, personality trait-oriented, Gender Role Identity Paradigm; Pleck 1981,1995), but rather is conceptualized as a variable process, strongly influenced by prevailing gender ideologies, which themselves vary according to social location and cultural context. The prevailing ideologies serve to uphold extant gender-based power structures, which, for the most part, are patriarchal, mitigated to varying degrees in different societies by the differential influence of feminism, and influence how teachers, parents, and peers socialize children, and how adults think, feel, and behave (Levant, 1996a; Pleck et al., 1994).
Masculinity ideology can be defined as an individual's internalization of cultural belief systems and attitudes toward masculinity and men's roles. It informs expectations for boys and men to conform to certain socially sanctioned masculine behaviors and to avoid certain proscribed behaviors.
Although masculinity ideologies are diverse, Pleck (1995) noted there exists a common constellation of standards and expectations associated with the traditional male role in the Western world. Referred to as traditional masculinity ideology, this construct reflects the dominant view of the male role prior to the feminist deconstruction of gender roles and rules that began in the U.S. and the Western world in the 1960s and 70s (Levant, 1996a). Connell (1995, p. 64) referred to this type of masculinity ideology as "hegemonic masculinity" to underscore its role in the dominance of white heterosexual men over women and racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities. David and Brannon (1976) identified four norms of traditional masculinity, (1) "no sissy stuff' (that men should avoid feminine things, (2) "the big wheel" (that men should strive for success and achievement), (3) "the sturdy oak" (that men should not show weakness), and (4) "give 'em hell" (that men should seek adventure, even if violence is necessary). The Brannon Masculinity Scale (Brannon & Juni, 1984), consisting of 110 normative statements, was one of the first measures developed to assess traditional masculinity ideology. In a review of the Brannon Masculinity Scale, Levant et al. (1992) noted redundancy and overlap among some of the subscales, which threatened its construct validity. Furthermore, they noted that the scale omitted what they viewed as basic dimensions of the male role, including fear and hatred of homosexuals and non-relational sexual attitudes.
In response, Levant and colleagues (Levant et al., 1992; Levant & Fischer, 1998) developed the Male Role Norms Inventory (MRNI) to assess both traditional and nontraditional masculinity ideologies. The MRNI is a 57-item instrument consisting of normative statements to which subjects indicate their degree of agreement/disagreement. In the last few years, several new versions of the MRNI have been developed. A 49-item version of the MRNI (MRNI-49; Berger, Levant, McMillan, Kelleher, & Sellers, 2005) focuses solely on traditional masculinity ideology (omitting the Non-Traditional Attitudes subscale of the original MRNI) and includes an improved Fear and Hatred of Homosexuals subscale. In addition, a version for adolescents, the 43-item MRNI-A (Brown, 2002), and an updated version of the MRNI, the 53-item MRNI-R (Aupont et al., 2004; Levant et al., 2007), have been developed and their psychometric properties are being investigated.
This article will summarize 15 years of research on masculinity ideologies using the Male Role Norms Inventory (MRNI). Almost all of the studies reviewed have used the original MRNI; those that use one of newer versions will be so identified. Multicultural investigations in the U.S. (examining African American, Latina/o, Asian, and European American samples) and abroad (Russia, China, Japan, and elsewhere) will be discussed, as will the relationships between traditional ideologies and a broad array of other constructs.
In the spirit of mentoring, the senior author worked with many graduate students at different universities over the years, whom he had met through Division 51 of the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity. In some cases the interaction was informal, and in one case he served on the student's dissertation committee (Bray, 2003). As a result, a number of the studies to be reviewed are student research, principally doctoral dissertations.
Development of the Male Role Norms Inventory
Levant and colleagues (Levant et al., 1992; Levant & Fischer, 1998) developed the Male Role Norms Inventory (MRNI), which measures seven theoretically-derived norms of traditional masculinity ideology: Avoidance of Femininity, Fear and Hatred of Homosexuals, Self-Reliance, Aggression, Achievement/Status, Non Relational Attitudes Toward Sex, and Restrictive Emotionality. It also includes a Non-Traditional Attitudes subscale.
The MRNI consists of 57 normative statements to which subjects indicate their degree of agreement/disagreement on 7-point Likert-type scales. The items used in the MNRI differ from the items used in the many extant scales for attitudes toward women and gender in that the latter items are framed to make comparisons between men and women (Pleck, 1981, referred to items of this type as gender-comparative items), while the former make statements about men in relation to male role norms but without comparison to women (termed by Pleck, 1981, as gender-specific items). Here are two examples of MRNI items: "A man should do whatever it takes to be admired and respected." "A boy should be allowed to quit a game if he is losing."
Scores are obtained by computing the mean for each subscale. For each traditional subscale, the range is 1-7, with higher scores indicating greater endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology. To obtain the Total Traditional score, compute the mean for the 45 items on the six traditional subscales (i.e., excluding the Non-Traditional Attitudes subscale). For the Non-Traditional Attitudes subscale, the range is also 1-7, but higher scores indicate greater endorsement of non-traditional masculinity ideology.
The reliability of the subscales of the MRNI was evaluated in three studies of male and female college students: One focused on race and compared European Americans and African Americans (Levant & Majors, 1997). The other two focused on nationality. One of these compared Americans (mostly European Americans) and Chinese (People's Republic of China; Levant, Wu, & Fischer, 1996) and the other compared Americans (mostly European Americans) and Russians (Levant, Cuthbert, et al., 2003). The Cronbach alphas for these three studies, were, respectively: Avoidance of Femininity (.77, .82, .67), Fear and Hatred of Homosexuals (.54, .58, .42*1), Self-Reliance (.54, .51, .68), Aggression (.52, .65, .48*), Achievement/Status (.67, .69, .79), Non Relational Attitudes Toward Sex (.69, .81, .70), Restrictive Emotionality (.75, .81, .83), Nontraditional Attitudes Toward Masculinity (.57, .56, .47*), and Total Traditional scale (.84, .88, .84). As one can see, the reliability of some of the MRNI subscales has been less than adequate, which resulted in these subscales not being used in those studies and the consequent loss of this data.
The reliability of the subscales of the MRNI-49 was evaluated in a study of adult males (Berger et al., 2005; Freeman, 2002). The Cronbach alphas were: Avoidance of Femininity (.80), Fear and Hatred of Homosexuals (.78), Self-Reliance (.69), Aggression (.58), Achievement/Status (.64), Non Relational Attitudes Toward Sex (.56), Restrictive Emotionality (.86), and Total Traditional scale (.92).
The newly developed MRNI-R (Levant, Smalley, et al., 2005) shows higher reliability than both the original MRNI and the MRNI-49. In a sample of 167 male and female undergraduate and graduate students from the Southeast U.S., the Cronbach alphas for the sample as a whole were: Avoidance of Femininity (.85), Fear and Hatred of Homosexuals (.91), Self-Reliance (.78), Aggression (.80), Dominance (which is the old "Achievement/Status" subscale, .84), Non Relational Attitudes Toward Sex (.79), Restrictive Emotionality (.86), and Total Traditional (.96).
Heesacker and Levant (2001) investigated the temporal stability of the MRNI (Total Traditional Scale) over a 3-month time period. For men the test-retest reliability was .65, for women .72.
Following the recommendations of Campbell and Fiske (1959), discriminant and convergent construct validity were assessed for the MRNI. Discriminant validity was assessed by examining the correlation of the MRNI Total Traditional scale with another measure of gender, one that focuses on instrumental and expressive personality traits rather than on gender ideology, and, as a result, is theoretically related to the Gender Role Identity Paradigm--the short form of the Personal Attributes Scale (PAQ; Spence & Helmreich, 1978). Accordingly, we hypothesized that the MRNI would not
Asterisked items were not published but were retrieved from research records. be significantly correlated with PAQ. The PAQ asks individuals to self-describe their own personality traits. For the men we looked at the correlation between their PAQ M scores (self-described stereotypic male personality traits) with their MRNI scores. For the women, we theorized that the most relevant comparison would be the degree to which they self-describe as stereotypically feminine (their PAQ F scores) and their endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology, both being measures of traditional views. We found that the MRNI Total Traditional scale was not related to the PAQ in a college student sample (for men, N = 97, r = .06 with M, or the Masculinity scale; for females, N = 220, r = .08 with F, or the Femininity scale; Levant & Fischer, 1998).
Convergent construct validity was assessed by examining the correlation of the MRNI Total Traditional scale with two other measures of gender. These measures focus on Gender Role Conflict and Stress, and are theoretically linked to the Gender Role Strain Paradigm, each one a measure of gender role discrepancy strain (Levant, 1996). We hypothesized that the MRNI would be correlated with each of these two measures and did find significant moderate correlations between the MRNI Total Traditional scale and both the Gender Role Conflict Scale-I (GRCS-I; O'Neil, Good, & Holmes, 1995; N = 190; r = .52, p < .001) and the Masculine Gender Role Stress Scale (MGRSS; Eisler, 1995; N= 190; r = .52, p < .001) (Levant & Fischer, 1998).
Research on Masculinity Ideologies Using the MRNI
The MRNI has been used to assess one of the central propositions of the Gender Role Strain Paradigm, namely that gender norms vary depending on the social location of the individual and his/her cultural context (Pleck, 1981). In studies of college students, the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology has been found to vary with a number of both social location/individual difference and cultural contextual variables, thus providing support for this tenet of the Gender Role Strain Paradigm. Greater endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology using the MRNI was found to be associated with sex (being male), age (being younger), marital status (being single), race and ethnicity (African Americans endorse traditional masculinity ideology to a greater extent than do Latino/a Americans, who in turn endorse traditional masculinity ideology to a greater extent than do European Americans), geographic region of residence in the United States (living in the South vs. the North), and nationality (Chinese and Russians endorse traditional masculinity ideology to a greater extent than do Americans) (Levant, Cuthbert, et al., 2003; Levant & Majors, 1997; Levant, Majors, & Kelly, 1998; Levant, Richmond, et al., 2003; Levant, Wu, & Fischer, 1996; Wu, Levant, & Sellers, 2001).
Variations in the Endorsement of Traditional Masculinity Ideology Based on Sex, Race, Ethnicity, and Social Class
Levant and Majors (1997) found that among African American and European American college men and women, using the Total Traditional scale of the MRNI, African American men endorsed traditional masculinity ideology to the greatest extent followed by European American men, African American women, and European American women, respectively. The gender differences reflect the fact that American men tend to endorse traditional masculinity ideology to a greater extent that do American women in all of the racial/ethnic groups that Levant and colleagues have studied. The differences between African American and European American men may be understood as a reflection of the higher degree of gender and racial role strain that African American men experience under hegemonic masculinity, which marginalizes African American men. As a consequence, Majors & Billson (1992) theorize such men develop a defensive adaptation that exaggerates the traditional male role norms, which they termed "cool pose." The authors also found a complex pattern of differences on the MRNI subscales among the four groups defined by sex and race, which the limited space of an article does not permit us to review.
In a follow-up study, Levant, Majors, and Kelly (1997) found that geographic region of residency moderated the effect of race on masculinity ideology, which highlights the importance of cultural variations (e.g., Northern vs. Southern U.S.) within groups defined by race.
In a multicultural examination of masculinity ideology in the United States (Gainesville, FL, New York City, and Detroit, MI) and Puerto Rico (San Juan), cultural differences emerged in the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology using the Total Traditional scale of the MRNI (Levant, Richmond, et al., 2003). For women, those from Detroit (primarily African American community residents) tended to endorse the most traditional views of masculinity, whereas Gainesville women (primarily European American college students) tended to endorse the least traditional views of masculinity, with primarily Latina college women from San Juan and New York in the middle. For the men, there were fewer differences, with men from Detroit (primarily African American community residents) and New York (primarily Latino college students) tending to endorse more traditional views of masculinity and those from San Juan (primarily Latino students) and Gainesville (primarily European American students) tending to endorse less traditional views of masculinity. The authors also found a complex pattern of differences among the eight groups defined by sex and race/ethnicity on four MRNI subscales: Avoidance of Femininity, Restrictive Emotionality, Achievement/Status, and Non Relational Attitudes Toward Sex.
These findings extend prior research by the inclusion of a community sample of working adults, who were significantly older and more likely to be married than those participants in the three college samples, and by the inclusion of U.S. and Caribbean Latino/a cultures, which, in this study, were found to be midway between European Americans and African Americans in their views of masculinity. This investigation found the effect size of sex to be larger than that of culture, consistent with most previous studies in the U.S. (Levant & Majors, 1997; Levant, Majors, & Kelly, 1998). This finding is in contrast to the studies (to be discussed below) that compared U.S. to non-U.S, samples (Levant, Cuthbert, et. al., 2003; Levant, Wu, & Fischer, 1996; Wu, Levant, & Sellers, 2001) and a study that compared African Americans, European Americans, and Latinos (Abreu, Goodyear, Campos, & Newcomb, 2000), all of which found the opposite--namely, that culture had larger effect size than gender.
Finally, a study of seven different cultural groups of Asian American men (Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and biracial/biethnic) found that they did not differ on their endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology using the MRNI (Liu, 2002). These groups were not compared to non Asian Americans.
Most studies using the MRNI were based on college student participants, who were relatively homogeneous in regard to social class, thus making the assessment of the relationship between traditional masculinity ideology and social class difficult. However, one study included a sample of lower income community residents along with college students (Levant, Richmond, et al., 2003). We did not report any analyses involving social class in the article; however, we went back into the data set to do these analyses. We found that the MRNI is positively and significantly correlated with social class (measured on a three point scale: 1 = upper class, 2 = middle class, and 3 = lower class), so that those lower in social class are more like to endorse traditional masculinity ideology. For Total Traditional Masculinity Ideology, r = .075, p =.05. For the subscales: Fear and Hatred of Homosexuals (r = .069, p = .05); Self Reliance (r = .085, p =.01); Non Relational Attitudes Toward Sex (r =.096, p = .01); and Restrictive Emotionality (r = .096, p = .01).
In a set of cross-national studies comparing U.S. college students to their counterparts in China and Russia, nationality was found to have a larger effect size than sex on variations in the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology, using the Total Traditional scale of the MRNI (Levant, Wu, & Fischer, 1996; Wu, Levant, & Sellers, 2001; Levant, Cuthbert, et al., 2003). In two studies of Chinese and U.S. college students, both Chinese men and women were more likely to endorse traditional masculinity ideology than their American counterparts (Levant, Wu, & Fischer, 1996; Wu, Levant, & Sellers, 2001). Additionally, there were smaller differences in the endorsement of traditional masculinity between Chinese men and women than U.S. men and women. This result was found in studies undertaken both before and after the United Nations' NGO conference on feminism in Beijing, which suggests that feminism may not have had much influence on gender norms in mainland China either before or after that conference. This is not surprising, given the high degree of male dominance that is inherent in Confucian and collectivist cultural norms (Chia, Moore, Lam, Chuang, & Cheng, 1994). In addition, the authors found a complex pattern of differences on the MRNI subscales among the four groups defined by sex and nationality.
Comparing Russian and U.S. college students, Russian male and female respondents endorsed traditional masculinity ideology (using the Total Traditional scale of the MRNI) to a higher degree than did U.S. male and female respondents (Levant, Cuthbert, et al., 2003). Russian and U.S. women endorsed a less traditional perspective of masculinity ideology than did their male counterparts; however, this difference was greatest between U.S. men and women. The authors also found a complex pattern of differences among the four groups defined by sex and nationality on five MRNI subscales: Avoidance of Femininity, Self-Reliance, Restrictive Emotionality, Achievement/Status, and Non Relational Attitudes Toward Sex.
Between Japanese and U.S. college students, Japanese male and female participants endorsed masculinity ideology in a more traditional direction than did their U.S. counterparts (Hayashi, 1999; Levant, Cuthbert, Hayashi, Richmond, & Matveev, 2002).
Two studies have been completed on Pakistanis. Rashid, Yasin, and Massoth (2000) compared English speaking Pakistani college men to American college men (using the data reported in Levant & Majors, 1997) and found the Pakistani men to endorse traditional masculinity ideology to a greater extent than did American men. Rizvi (2000) translated the MRNI into Urdu after removing the Non Relational Attitudes Toward Sex and Fear and Hated of Homosexuals subscales. She found that older people and men endorsed traditional masculinity ideology to a greater extent than did younger people and women, respectively, but did not find a relationship with social class. Finally, a study using the MRNI is underway in South Africa.
One word of caution about the cross-national studies: Although most of these studies used appropriate techniques of back-translation (Brislin, 1970), and attempts were made not only to translate the word but the concept (e.g., "shiny new bicycle" was substituted for "shiny new car" in the China studies) there may be unknown transformations in meaning and social desirability when English words are translated into other languages, which can contribute to non-random but unknown variations in item endorsement.
Masculinity Ideology and Other Variables
Other investigators have broadened the focus beyond sex, race, ethnicity, and nationality to examine masculinity ideologies in relationship to social location variables such as generation and sexual orientation, as well as a host of measures of individual and relational health and functioning. These latter variables include: Social support; attitudes toward condom use; fear of intimacy; relationship satisfaction and related variables; beliefs about the father's role and father's participation in child care; attitudes toward racial diversity, women's equality, and sexual harassment; sexual aggression; relationship violence; forgiveness of racial discrimination; alexithymia and related constructs; alcoholism; head-injury; psychological help-seeking; preventive health behaviors; and treatment.
Generational differences. In a study of adult father-son dyads, Young (1995) found the sons to be less traditional than the fathers. This is consistent with other research that finds the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology is correlated with age, but this study is unique in that it looks at the relationship within specific father-son dyads.
Sexual orientation and social support. In a study of gay males, Massoth, Broderick, Festa, and Montello (1996) found their sample of gay males to score less traditionally on all but the self-reliance subscale when they were compared to a sample of predominantly heterosexual white college students (using the data reported in Levant & Majors, 1997). Gay men in the community who endorsed traditional norms of masculinity were found by Campbell (2000) to experience less social support for being a gay individual and for their gay relationship. On the other hand, in a study of single gay and heterosexual men, Grant (2002) found that endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology was not associated with how much social support or intimacy the individual gave or received. Hence, the relationship between the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology and social support is not clear.
Condom attitudes. A study of sexually active male and female college students found an association between the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology on the MRNI and the endorsement of the idea that talking about condoms would be an upsetting experience if they were to discuss with it their partners (Smith, 1996).
Fear of intimacy. MRNI Total Traditional masculinity ideology scores of mid-life males on the MRNI were found by Maxton (1994) to be significantly and positively correlated with their scores on the Fear of Intimacy Scale (Descutner & Thelen, 1991).
Relationship satisfaction and related variables. In a study of heterosexual couples, Mcgraw (2001) found a series of relationships between men's and women's endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology using the MRNI and lower relationship satisfaction on the part of both men and women, higher male intrusiveness, lower male closeness-caregiving, and lower male openness to communication.
Beliefs about the father's role and participation in child care. Using path analysis, Bonney, Kelley, and Levant (1999) found that traditional masculinity ideology, assessed using the MRNI Total Traditional scale, directly influenced (as an unmediated relationship) both maternal and paternal beliefs about the father's role, and indirectly influenced men's participation in child care (through its effect on maternal and paternal beliefs about the father's role). Given that role-sharing is a frequent cause of marital conflict (Levant, 1996b) and that masculinity ideology influences fathers' participation in child care, addressing intra-couple differences in ideology might be helpful in treatment.
Attitudes toward racial diversity, women's equality, and sexual harassment. In a study on attitudes toward racial diversity, men who endorsed traditional masculinity ideology (using the MRNI) and/or who are dependent on a male reference group for their gender role self-concept, were also likely to hold negative attitudes about racial diversity and women's equality, and to have attitudes conducive to the sexual harassment of women (Wade & Brittan-Powell, 2001). Conversely, these investigators found that the endorsement of non-traditional masculinity ideology, feminine traits, and appreciating differences among men, which is associated with not being dependent on a male reference group for one's gender role self-concept, were all related to positive attitudes about racial diversity and women's equality and not having attitudes conducive to the sexual harassment of women (Wade & Brittan-Powell). Similar results were found by Liu (2002) with his Asian male sample: Greater endorsement of non-traditional masculinity ideology using the MRNI was associated with higher scores on fighting against racism and more openness to diversity; and, conversely, higher endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology was associated with racial group marginalization and ethnocentrism.
Sexual aggression. In a sample of male undergraduates, a relationship was found between the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology on the MRNI and both predictive and retrospective reports of acquaintance sexual aggression (Gale, 1996). Gale found that this relationship was mediated by rape supportive attitudes, "motivation" (a composite measure consisting of measures of dominance as a motive for sex, hostility toward women, and imagined arousal to a rape situation) and peer group norms.
Relationship violence. Teofilo (1999) found male batterers participating in domestic violence treatment programs in the San Francisco Bay Area endorsed a less traditional view of male role norms than that of the college students studied by Levant and Majors (1997). These results were unexpected, and may be attributable to the effects of treatment. Another study of college men found that the interaction between gender role stress and the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology (using the average of the scores on the MRNI Total Traditional scale and Thompson & Pleck's  Male Role Norms Scale [MRNS]) emerged as a significant predictor of relationship violence (Jakupcak, Lisak, & Roemer, 2002).
Forgiveness of racial discrimination. A study investigating the correlates of forgiveness of racial discrimination among African American men found that greater endorsement of the traditional Restrictive Emotionality subscale of the MRNI was associated with less forgiveness. However, the relationship between restrictive emotionality and forgiveness was moderated by age, socioeconomic status, personality, and religious coping disposition (Hammond, Banks, & Mattis, 2006).
Alexithymia and related constructs. In the multicultural investigation discussed earlier, Levant, Richmond, et al. (2003) found a relationship between the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology (using the Total Traditional scale of the MRNI) and higher degrees of alexithymia (using the TAS-20; Taylor, 1994) in men, similar to that found by Fischer and Good (1997). Even after controlling for demographic variables, masculinity ideology accounted for unique variance in alexithymia in men (Levant, Richmond, et. al., 2003). Studying male college students, Levant, Good, et al. (2006) found significant moderate correlations between the Total Traditional scale of the MRNI and the TAS-20, and between the Total Traditional scale of the MRNI and the Normative Male Alexithymia Scale (NMAS, a new measure designed to measure subclinical, or normative alexithymia, theorized by Levant, 1998). In a similar vein, a study in Western Canada (Bray, 2003) found that college males' level of endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology predicted their level of emotional awareness (using the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale; Lane, Quinlan, Schwartz, Walker, & Zeitlan, 1990), but this relationship was not found for males working at a trade, like carpentry or plumbing.
Alcoholism. Mid-life male alcoholics were found to be less traditional than the sample of college students reported in Levant et al. (1992), and nearly as non-traditional as a comparison sample of mid-life women (Silvestri & Lowe, 1995). Age may be a confounding variable here, as older men tend to endorse traditional masculinity ideology less than their younger counterparts.
Head-injury. A sample of head-injured men were found to score less traditionally on the MRNI Aggression subscale, which the investigators interpret as a rejection on the part of the participants of behaviors that might have caused head injuries, less traditionally on the Non-Traditional Attitudes subscale of the MRNI, and more traditionally on the Rejection of Homosexuals subscale of the MRNI, which the authors interpreted as a defensive reaction of these previously "macho" men to their current vulnerable condition (Massoth et al., 1996).
Psychological help-seeking. Results of a study of community residents indicated that men who endorse higher degrees of traditional masculinity ideology on the MRNI-49 tend to have more negative attitudes toward psychological help-seeking, and that their attitudes toward psychological help-seeking are more closely related to traditional masculinity ideology than to gender role conflict (Berger et al., 2005; Freeman, 2002).
Health behaviors. A cross-sectional examination of the health behavior of African American men in the community did not find an association between the endorsement of traditional masculinity (the Restrictive Emotionality Scale of the MRNI) and the recent scheduling of a routine health visit. In addition, the endorsement of traditional masculinity (the Self-Reliance Scale of the MRNI) was not found to be associated with self-protective dietary practices (Powell, 2005). So too, a study of male Russian college students did not find that the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology was associated with health behaviors (Levant, Cuthbert, et al., 2003)
Clinical and treatment applications. There is a report of using traditional male role norms (based on the MRNI) to structure group therapy for adjudicated adolescent boys (Richmond & Levant, 2003). The focus was on creating a safe and cohesive environment in which the boys could begin to discuss and challenge traditional male role norms, particularly the restriction of emotional expression. A set of 3" by 5" cards containing both neutral themes as well as those that bore directly on gender role norms was used to frame the conversations. Each session began with a boy turning a card face up. The theme written on that card then became the topic of discussion. The boys became so engaged in the process that several stayed in the group beyond their mandated time period. There is also a discussion of the clinical implications of the Gender Role Strain Paradigm and masculinity ideology with regard to helping fathers reconstruct new roles, utilizing qualitative data from the Yeshiva University Fatherhood Project (Silverstein, Auerbach, & Levant, 2002).
Data on the reliability, temporal stability, and construct validity of the MRNI have been reviewed. The MRNI is a useful tool for measuring the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology in the United States and abroad, and for examining the relationship between social location/individual difference and cultural contextual variables and the endorsement of traditional male gender role norms. Furthermore, this review has shown that gender ideologies vary across a wide range of social location and cultural contextual variables, suggesting that gender roles are not to be regarded as "given," neither psychologically nor biologically, but rather as socially constructed.
In a review of studies on traditional masculinity ideology in relationship to sex, race, ethnicity, and social class in the United States, men endorse traditional masculinity ideology to greater extent than do women, and, in most studies, sex has a larger effect size than race/ethnicity. African Americans tend to endorse traditional masculinity ideology to greater extent than do European Americans, and Lationa/o's in the U.S. and Puerto Rico tend to endorse it about midway between African Americans and European Americans. The effects of race on the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology were moderated by geographic residence among African Americans. No differences were found in the endorsement of traditional masculinity among seven different cultural groups of Asian American men. Those lower in social class are more likely to endorse traditional masculinity ideology.
In a review of studies on traditional masculinity ideology in relationship to sex and nationality, Chinese, Russians, Japanese, and Pakistanis endorse traditional masculinity ideology to greater extent than do Americans, and nationality has a larger effect size than sex.
In a review of studies on traditional masculinity ideology and other constructs, traditional masculinity ideology measured using the MRNI was found to be related to a number of variables measuring social location and individual and relational health and functioning. Traditional ideology was related to: Generational differences (sons scored less traditional than fathers); sexual orientation and social support (gay men scored less traditional than heterosexual men; mixed results on the relationship between traditional ideology and social support); relationship violence (batterers in treatment endorsed less traditional ideology); alcoholism (mid-life alcoholics less traditional); and head-injury (mixed results). Traditional masculinity ideology as measured by the MRNI was not associated with engaging or not engaging in preventive health behavior.
On the other hand, the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology as measured by the MRNI was found to be associated with a range of problematic individual and relational variables, including reluctance to discuss condom use with partners, fear of intimacy, lower relationship satisfaction, more negative beliefs about the fathers' role and lower paternal participation in child care, negative attitudes toward racial diversity and women's equality, attitudes conducive to sexual harassment, self-reports of sexual aggression, lower forgiveness of racial discrimination, alexithymia and related constructs, and reluctance to seek psychological help.
Limitations of this research include the preponderance of college student samples (although there are some non-collegiate samples), and on doctoral dissertation research, which, though peer-reviewed, are not blindly refereed, as are journal articles.
Recommendations for Research and Practice
Research should continue on the relationship between traditional masculinity ideology and social location/individual difference and cultural contextual variables, as well as measures of individual and relational health and functioning. Attention should continue to be given to the relationship between traditional masculinity ideology and other masculinity measures.
Attention needs to be given to how multiple dimensions of diversity, such as race, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, age, religion, and disability status interact with each other and with gender ideologies.
Although data exist on the differential socialization of males and females (Brody, 1999; Levant, 1998), no research has been done on how gender ideologies actually influence the socialization and development of children. How do traditional and non-traditional gender role beliefs develop? How are they related to sexism? To feminism? How do they change over the life span? How do they relate to the culture, race, and class of the developing child and adolescent?
Since this review has found the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology as measured by the MRNI is associated with a range of problematic individual and relational outcomes, further research on these troubling findings is needed. In addition, these findings call for the development and implementation of preventive psycho-educational programs to both raise awareness of the problematic aspects of traditional masculinity ideology and to help individual boys and men change their views of the male role and their engagement in problematic traditional role behaviors. Furthermore, the clinical applications of the Gender Role Strain Paradigm should be further developed, as a means to aid men and women in their efforts to cope with gender role strain.
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RONALD F. LEVANT
The University of Akron
Ronald F. Levant, Office of the Dean, Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Akron; Katherine Richmond, Department of Psychology, Muhlenberg College.
An earlier version of this paper was presented at symposium, "Masculinity and Femininity Ideologies, Conformity and Role Strain," at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, July 30, 2004, Honolulu, HI. We are indebted to Glenn Good, Jim O'Neil, Joe Pleck, and Louse Silverstein for reviewing an earlier draft and providing helpful comments.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ronald F. Levant, Office of the Dean, Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-1901. Electronic mail: email@example.com
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|Author:||Levant, Ronald F.; Richmond, Katherine|
|Publication:||The Journal of Men's Studies|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2007|
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