Parent-based hegemonic masculinity and the psychological well-being of young sexual minority men
Monday, November 4, 2013
: 4:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
It has been suggested that hegemonic masculinity (i.e., a set of socially accepted masculine behaviors and beliefs within a given time and culture) is damaging to the psychological well-being of sexual minority men, yet quantitative relationships between the two remain largely unexplored. Using data from a national cross-sectional web survey of young sexual minority men (N=1505; ages 18-24), we examined the prevalence of being told to stop acting feminine by a parental figure, as well as parental actions in response to perceived feminine behavior. Over a third of the sample (37.5%) reported their parent(s) or the person(s) who raised them told them to stop acting feminine. Participants reported the following parental disciplinary actions: told to change behavior (34.8%; N=524); punished/restricted activities (12.2%; N=184); sent to counseling (7.4%; N=111) or religious figure (5.3%; N=80); abused them (4.8%; N=72); and enrolled them in traditionally masculine activities (2.5%; N=38). Using multivariate linear regression, we examined the relationship between number of parental disciplinary actions and psychological well-being, after adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, and current student status. We found a negative linear relationship between number of disciplinary actions and self-esteem (b=-.697) and positive linear relationships between number of disciplinary actions and depression (b=1.153) and anxiety (b=1.239) symptoms, respectively. Though parents may attempt to reduce sons' gender atypicality to protect them from societal discrimination, these actions themselves are damaging to the mental health of young sexual minority men. We discuss implications of our findings for developing family-based interventions promoting gender and sexuality sensitivity.
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Identify how parent-based hegemonic masculinity impacts the psychological well-being of young sexual minority men.
Consider how family-level interventions might use these findings to redirect parents' motivation to protect their sons away from enforcing hegemonic masculinity and toward enhancing their own sensitivity around issues of gender and sexuality.
Keyword(s): Gay Men, Mental Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a project director at the University of Michigan Sexuality & Health Lab. My work focuses on the health of LGBT populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.