Various researches have been conducted on gender roles, the results of which suggest that Men who strongly adhere to traditional masculine norms are more likely to commit acts of violence towards couples.
However, this hypothesis is not the only explanatory cause of conjugal violence, since there are other variables that can influence it. On the other hand, male gap stress has been studied because research has found that men who do not fit male roles may also be at risk of engaging in intimate partner violence.
It should be noted that the results of research on the relationship between stress due to male separation and a series of violent behaviors with the aim of demonstrating one’s masculinity cannot be extrapolated to the general population because more studies would be necessary to prove this correlation.
For that, in this article we will explain what male gap stress is and what the results of the research conducted on this subject have been.
What is male lag stress?
Male mismatch stress is a form of prolonged suffering that some men experience when they fail to meet traditional expectations of the masculine gender, having to demonstrate attributes such as mastery, tenacity, or strength, among others. As a result, they may be psychologically distressed and, at the same time, this may cause them to engage in sexually and physically violent behavior in order to demonstrate their own masculinity.
As we will see below, the relationship between stress due to male separation and acts of violence in a couple or in other contexts that has been found in the research that will be discussed in this article is not conclusive. and does not have a sufficient sample. ideal to be representative within the general population.
However, it is important to consider this concept known as male shift stress and the negative psychological repercussions it has for those who suffer from it, as well as those around them; since the purpose of this research is to provide more information, both to other researchers and to the general population, information on this subject.
Male Divergence Stress Research In a study conducted by Dennis E. Reidy and his colleagues on Male Divergence Stress, which involved 600 men between the ages of 18 and 50, in which they had to complete questionnaires on the subject at to study.
In one of the questionnaires, they had to answer a few questions on the Likert scale, from 1 (disagree) to 7 (totally disagree); being all issues related to traditional male gender roles in society, being these issues the ones listed next:
- I am less masculine than the average man.
- Compared to my friends, I’m not very masculine.
- Most women I know tell me I’m not as masculine as most men.
- I’m afraid that others will judge me because I’m not the typical man.
- Sometimes I worry about my manhood.
- I’m afraid that women will find me less attractive because I’m not as sexist as other men.
The study initially aimed to investigate and determine whether male gap stress is a risk factor for physical, psychological, and sexual aggression by heterosexual men against women, concluding that this association was true.
Therefore, it has been found that men who suffer from what is known as stress due to a masculine difference, perceiving themselves as inferior to the average man, they may come to interpret certain ambiguous interactions as challenges to their own masculinity. This could lead to responses that will provide answers to prove or reaffirm their status as masculinity. On the other hand, it was found that there was a greater correlation between stress related to the male gap and intimate partner violence among young people.
Stress due to male difference in adolescents
A male gap stress study was conducted in which 589 teenagers from Wayne County, Michigan, USA participated. In this study, they completed a survey assessing gender role gap, male gap stress, and partners’ history of physical and sexual abuse.
Regression analysis revealed that children who claimed to have gender mismatch and stress associated with male mismatch were generally they were more at risk of participating in acts of violence in the future.
The results of the study explained that the stress due to the male gap among the adolescents who participated in the study could make them more likely to engage in violent behavior against women as a way to prove their masculinity. to themselves or others and also to deny possible threats to their masculinity by couples.
As with adult studies, it should be noted that this study cannot be extrapolated to the general adolescent population, as there are more factors that influence a person to commit violent acts.
However, it is important to keep in mind this study conducted on male gap stress in the adolescent population in order to identify possible risk and protective factors, as well as to raise awareness of the general population. important that people from adolescence learn to respect their partners.
It is also essential to make people aware that masculinity, like femininity, is much more complex than whether or not it possesses a number of characteristics traditionally associated with each sex.. For example, in the case of masculinity, which has generally been associated with strength, dominance or tenacity, BUT if we only hold to possessing such superficial characteristics, when a person does not conform to social canons, so do gender roles. when problems arise, such as stress due to the difference between men.
Stress due to male difference and emotional distress
A study of university barons found that stress due to male difference could trigger a hyper-stereotype of behavior and a number of mental health issues, causing emotional distress. This study analyzed the experiences of 5 college barons who reported male gap stress to investigate their perceptions of the gap, as well as the associated emotional distress and the effects it had on their behavior. .
The results of the study showed that the self-criticism of the subjects evaluated as well as the negative comments about their masculinity received from others caused them emotional distress, evolution also emphasizes feelings of sadness, fear and anger.
The study concluded that the stress due to the masculine gap and the self-perception of the men who participated in the study, makes them prone to risky behaviors in order to show more masculinity and the feeling of not being able to engage in behaviors that have traditionally been associated in society with masculinity cause them emotional distress.
As with the other studies that have been mentioned, it should be noted that they cannot be extrapolated to the general population.
Male Gaps Stress Research Findings
Mosher and Sirkin found in their research that in cases of men experiencing stress due to a male gap they often used aggression in any situation where they felt threatened or challenged by their own masculinity.. Of all the forms of aggression, physical violence has been found to be one of the most common and most used methods by these men to show that they are just as masculine or even more so than the average man.
Other studies have shown that men who experience high levels of stress due to a gap between men said they felt unsure of his male role, therefore, they may perform a series of behaviors in order to demonstrate and match the perception of their masculinity with that of other men. It is even possible that these perceived threats to their masculinity further increase their insecurity not only in the area of their intimate relationships, but in any other area related to interpersonal relationships.
The results of this research should be interpreted with great caution because the effect sizes for the individual predictor variables were small, so the factors that are suggested might contribute to men’s violence against their female intimate partners are not entirely clear, as is the case of stress due to male difference.
It should be noted that the research results found a relationship between suffering due to male separation and engagement in aggressive behaviors, including spousal abuse, to show that masculinity itself is consistent with traditional canons in terms of masculinity in society. do not have enough empirical support to be able to extrapolate to the general population, as more studies are needed and with larger sample sizes that would prove this hypothesis to be conclusive.
It should also be noted that the self-report questionnaires used in the surveys may not reflect too accurately the actual behavior of the respondents, which is also the case with the prevalence rates found.
However, longitudinal studies are planned on the prediction of gender-based violence based on the fact that the man suffers from stress due to the male gap, among other factors that could be linked, such as the socialization of gender roles or that there is had an onset of domestic violence in adolescence.
Although this study has some limitations, it is important to take this into account and be aware that many men suffer from psychological distress as they feel their masculinity is being questioned, experiencing the aforementioned stress due to male difference. It is also crucial to consider the relationship of this gap with intimate partner violence, as it can serve as a basis for future research in the field of gender-based violence and the predictors linked to these deplorable behaviors.
- Angels, ZS & Olvera, J. (2022). Gender Gap and Emotional Discomfort Among College Men. DISSEMINATE Scientific Bulletin of Lycée Actopan, 9 (17), pp. 1-9.
- Reidy, DE, Barke, DS, Gentile, B. & Zeichner, A. (October 2014). Enough man? Stress of male difference and domestic violence. Personality and individual differences, 68, p. 160-164.
- Reidy, DE, Smith-Darden, JP, Cortina, KS, Kernsmith, RM, and Kernsmith, PD (June 2015). Male difference stress, adolescent dating violence, and perpetration of adolescent sexual violence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(6), p. 619-624.