Conformity to masculine norms and academic engagement in college men

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Department or Administrative Unit


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Gender differences in academic engagement and performance have been explored by a number of researchers, with many qualitative researchers asserting that male students who endorse popular notions of masculinity are less likely to be academically engaged in school (Francis, 1999; Jackson, 2003; Morris, 2008). In the current study, the potential relationship between conformity to masculine norms and behaviors reflective of academic engagement was explored in a sample of college students in the United States. Specifically, the relationship between conformity to masculine norms and various learning and study strategies and approaches to learning were explored using correlational and regression analyses. As predicted, conformity to various masculine norms predicted engagement in adaptive learning and study strategies, intrinsic goal orientation, and deep and surface approaches to learning. Of the 11 masculine norms, 2 significantly predicted deep approach to learning and 3 predicted surface approach; all of the predictions were in a direction consistent with the notion that greater conformity to masculine norms is associated with decreased levels of behaviors reflective of academic engagement. These results suggest that investigations of the gender gap in academic performance would benefit from greater attention to variables such as conceptions of masculinity, conformity to masculine norms, and gender identity.


This article was originally published in Psychology of Men & Masculinity. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Psychology of Men & Masculinity


© 2015 American Psychological Association