Hypermasculinity Attitude Profiles and Depressive Symptoms in Emerging Adult Males
The project examines hypermasculine attitudes and depressive symptoms in emerging adult males. Recent research has suggested that although males have historically reported lower rates of depressive symptoms than females (Boticello, 2009), emerging adulthood may be a time when males are at an increased risk of developing depressive symptoms due to fear of failing to fulfill traditional masculine roles (e.g., breadwinner) and failure to achieve intimate romantic partnerships as a result (Oliffe et al., 2010). Some males may attempt to cope with these negative feelings by adopting maladaptive and exaggerated hypermasculine attitudes. Hypermasculine attitudes are associated with a variety of negative outcomes including violence toward women and substance abuse (Mosher & Sirkin, 1984). Substance use is also associated with depressive symptoms as a form of self-medication (Joiner et al., 1992) and masculinity in the college social context (Iwamoto et al., 2011). Hypermasculinity was originally conceptualized as a personality trait, but more recent research has examined it as a reactive coping strategy (Cunningham & Meunier, 2004). Furthermore, there is also evidence that hypermasculine attitudes may be more multidimensional and that different profiles of hypermasculine attitudes may be associated with different behavioral and psychological outcomes (Burke, Burkhart, & Sikorski, 2004). 328 males ages 18-25 who attend college completed the survey. The results do not support the hypothesized profile of hypermasculine attitudes. However, analysis of demographic characteristics did yield one large homogeneous cluster (n =213) for whom hypermasculine attitudes may be serving as a reactive coping strategy for depressive symptoms, and another large heterogeneous cluster (n = 115) for whom hypermasculine attitudes may not be serving as a coping strategy for depressive symptoms.