Changes in Conventional Masculinity and Psychological Well-Being among Participants in a Mutual Help Organization for Men

Clinton W. Anderson
Kenneth I. Maton
Christopher K. Burke
Eric S. Mankowski
Laura M. Stapleton

DOI: 10.2190/SH.8.1.i


The study modeled the theory of a mutual help organization, the ManKind Project®, that masculinity harms men's well-being and that men changing their masculinity through participation in the organization's mutual help settings will improve well-being. The study hypothesized that conventional masculinity (i.e., adherence to masculine gender role norms and stereotypes) would decrease over time and mediate changes in psychological well-being among 128 U. S. participants in the organization (mid-Atlantic region, highly educated, mostly white, disproportionately gay/bisexual). Participants completed questionnaires once before and 3 times after initiation into the organization. Linear latent growth models fitted to the data showed that conventional masculinity decreased (p < .001) and partially mediated (p < .001) an increase (p < .01) in psychological well-being, supporting the hypotheses. The findings replicate earlier findings that conventional masculinity is associated with poorer psychological well-being and suggest potential benefits to psychological well-being from decreases in conventional masculinity associated with participation in a mutual help organization.

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