The Assessment of Subjective Masculine Norms in the United States

Y. Joel Wong, Ricky M. Granderson, Nelson O.O. Zounlome, Keiko M. McCullough, Jacqueline E. Hyman, Sara B. Schwabe

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14 Citations (SciVal)


What are men's perceptions of the most important masculine norms in the United States? And how are their endorsement of these norms associated with their well-being and gender-related outcomes (e.g., sexism)? Guided by the subjective gender norms model (Wong, Ringo Ho, Wang, & Fisher, 2016), this study investigated 463 U.S. men's (Mage = 35.14) subjective masculine norms, defined as perceptions of the most important masculine norms in a group or society. The authors had two goals: (a) identify the most prevalent U.S. subjective masculine norms and (b) evaluate the psychometric properties of a U.S. version of the Subjective Masculine Norms Scale (SMNS), which measures the endorsement of subjective masculine norms. Using directed content analysis of participants' qualitative responses, the authors found that the top five most prevalent subjective masculine norms were emotional toughness, providing for family, avoidance of femininity, being a gentleman, and work. Regarding the psychometric properties of the SMNS, a measurement model with two factors corresponding to prescriptive norms (what men should do) and proscriptive norms (what men should not do) best fit the data. The authors also provided convergent, criterion-related, discriminant, and incremental evidence for the SMNS subscales' validity as well as evidence for their internal consistency. In particular, the SMNS subscales were associated with well-being and gender-related outcomes but not with self-deception enhancement and impression management. The authors conclude by highlighting the distinctiveness of subjective masculine norms, offering an empirical approach to assessing masculine norms in a society or group, and proposing interventions for men based on masculine norms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association.


  • Conformity
  • Happiness
  • Loneliness
  • Social construction
  • Social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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