Masculinity and Interpersonal Competencies: Contrasting White and African American Men


Masculinity ideologies inform expectations for how men should behave, and one important realm of behavior is that of interpersonal relationships. Conforming to Western-defined traditional male role norms has been linked to numerous aspects of relational health and functioning. However, as masculinity ideologies reflect the internalization of cultural beliefs and attitudes about men's roles, the associations between masculine ideologies and interpersonal functioning could differ by racial cultural group. This study examined differences between White and African American men's endorsements of traditional masculinity ideology and compared the associations between masculinity ideology and interpersonal competencies with relationship partners and coworkers. Although there were few differences in the endorsement of male role norms between the two groups, canonical correlations indicated different patterns of associations with coworkers and relationship partners for White and African American men. The endorsement of the Toughness role norm was strongly and inversely related to interpersonal competencies for White men, but was not significantly related to interpersonal competencies for African American men. The Status norm was inversely related to interpersonal competencies for White men, but positively related to competencies for African American men. Research and practice implications are discussed. © 2010 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Psychology of Men and Masculinity