Concerns with men's academic motivation in higher education: an exploratory investigation of the role of masculinity.
In the last twenty years, research has indicated that men as a
social group are experiencing disproportionate difficulties in higher
education. Typically, these problems have been addressed by
investigating men as a homogenous sex, rather than employing gender
awareness approaches that try to understand how the meaning of
masculinity impacts motivation in higher education. This study was
specifically interested in the relationship between conformity to
masculine norms and academic motivation. Using exploratory canonical
correlation analysis, two significant functions were revealed. The
first, demonstrated that as conformity to masculine norms predictor
variables: primacy of work decreases and playboy and violence increase,
three types of intrinsic motivation decrease. The second function
indicated that as conformity to masculine norms predictor variables
emotional control, disdain for homosexuality, self-reliance, and winning
decrease, two intrinsic motivation scores increase. Suggestions are
given for further research in this area.
Keywords: college difficulty, masculinities, gender awareness
Motivation in education (Research)
Kahn, Jack S.
Brett, Benjamin L.
Holmes, Jessica R.
|Publication:||Name: The Journal of Men's Studies Publisher: Men's Studies Press Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Men's Studies Press ISSN: 1060-8265|
|Issue:||Date: Wntr, 2011 Source Volume: 19 Source Issue: 1|
|Topic:||Event Code: 310 Science & research|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
The gender gap in higher education is not a new phenomenon. Since
the 1970s, researchers have been exploring the subtle and not so subtle
ways in which sex and gender play a role in multiple aspects of higher
education, including students' (a) completed applications, (b)
actual enrollment, (c) overall success and (d) completion of a college
degree (Adebayo, 2008; Duffy & Sedlacek, 2007; Ehrmann, &
Massey, 2007; Harris
III & Harper, 2008; Hughes, Karp, Fermin, & Bailey, 2005; Sax, 2008). What has changed is the focus of that gap. In the past, researchers primarily focused on the ways in which women were not achieving equal access to higher education. A recent focus in the last twenty years has been on understanding the disproportionately lower representation and motivation of men. Typically, this research has examined this issue by dividing sex into two binary categories (men and women) although research is beginning to examine how gender constructs can play a role regardless of one's socially ascribed sex (Smiler, 2006).
Men appear to be struggling with various difficulties in higher education. These difficulties include: eligible men applying disproportionately less often (Baum & Goldstein, 2005; Harris III & Harper, 2008; Pollack, 1998), enrolling disproportionately less (Adebayo, 2008; Baum & Goldstein, 2005; Chronicle of Higher Education, 1995; Harris III & Harper; Marcus, 2000), underperforming in many academic areas (Dayioglu &Turut-Asik, 2007; Ehrmann, & Massey, 2007; Evelyn, 2002; Harris III & Harper; Manzo, 2004; McNabb, Pal, & Sloane, 2002; Sheard, 2009; Wei-Cheng & Lynn, 2001; West, 1999), significantly higher risk to be on academic probation (Evelyn; Tyre, Murr, Juarez, Underwood, & Wingert, 2006), higher probability to be dismissed from college for academic reasons (Evelyn, 2002; Tyre et al., 2006), and a significantly lower lack of persistence to graduation (Adebayo, 2008; Arenson, 2004; Davis, 2007; Harris III & Harper; Leppel, 2002). Several of these issues are more problematic for students of color who are even more underrepresented in access to education and overrepresented in problem areas (Ehrmann, & Massey; Harris III & Harper; Sibulin & Butler, 2005; Smyth & Mcardle, 2004).
As researchers have accumulated data on these issues, it has become difficult to ignore concerns men are struggling with throughout higher education. A fundamental factor cited in the research is the motivation of the student (Cokley, Bernard, Cunningham, & Motoike, 2001; Ehrmann, & Massey, 2007; Locker, 2002; Murtonen, Olkinuora, & Tynjala, 2008; Sheard, 2009). Recent research on motivation reveals women who enter college are found to often have elevated levels of motivation in terms of academic achievement in comparison to their male counterparts (Clifton, Perry, Roberts, & Peter, 2008; Duffy & Sedlacek, 2007; Harris III & Harper, 2008; Sax, 2008; Sheard, 2009). Women students spend significantly more time studying, completing work, discussing academics outside of the classroom, attending class, and engaging in extracurricular activities (Dayioglu &Turut-Asik, 2007; Harris III & Harper; Jenkins, 2009; Mau & Lynn, 2001; Sax). This "less academically engaged behavior" by men may contribute to their less competitive GPA, and greater challenges with reading, formal writing, and communication skills throughout their education (Garden, 2006; Harris III & Harper; Pollack, 1998; Sax; Whitt, Pascarella, Elkins Nesheim, Marth, & Pierson, 2003).
These findings have led some researchers to assume that men have shared and specific needs based on "being men" that perhaps are not met in college classrooms. These needs reflect stereotypic assumptions about men's nature such as the need for movement, activity, and competitiveness.
While some pre-college research has shown some improvement through the use of various educational programs and interventions, they rest on an implied assumption about boys/men and men's needs in education. While paying attention to masculine roles or issues of boys and men seems warranted, many of these programs focus merely on sex and assume that boys and men have homogenous experiences such as a desire to be active and competitive and to lack interest in reading and critical thinking. These needs are argued to be a function of their essentialized sex (Benjamin, 2001 ; Harris III & Harper, 2008; Kahn, 2009; Kehler & Greig, 2005). They also assume that men's problem is "being men in a woman's environment" rather than critically evaluating what gender means to those who are struggling and how that meaning may have an impact on their educational engagement. There does not seem to be a gender awareness or analysis in these kinds of investigations. In an article exploring literacy, Kehler and Greig exemplify this understanding, "Instead of critically examining the relationships between masculinities and literacies, there has been a tendency to rely on essentialist notions of masculinity in addition to ascribing stereotypical behaviors, interests, and attitudes to all boys." (p. 351).
To address this concern, some researchers have turned their attention to understanding masculinities rather than a focus on "men." The shift to exploring masculinities allows for the recognition that the ways in which people make sense of what it means to be masculine may have an impact on the various ways in which they relate to their social world (Addis & Cohane, 2005; Benjamin, 2001; Harris III & Harper, 2008; Kehler, & Greig, 2005; Levi, Chan & Pence, 2006; Orlofsky & Stake, 1981; Kahn, 2009; Mahalik Pierre, & Wan, 2006a; Peralta, 2007; West, 1999). Masculinities researchers assume that experiences with masculinity are diverse and require an investigation and understanding of that diversity, if one hopes to address these concerns.
By turning the analysis to masculinities and identity, one can better understand ways in which people construct unique gender identities and negotiate with the norms of cultures in which they interact. In particular, researchers have examined the impact of conforming and struggling with dominant masculinity, a type of masculinity that emphasizes aggressiveness, power over women, a rejection of femininity, entitlement and male privilege and exists in a hegemonic system in which dominance is policed, maintained and reinforced by those who benefit from it or desire to (Connell, 1995; Kahn, 2009). While conformity to dominant masculinity has psychosocial benefits for the privileged who attain it, thirty years of research exist documenting varying ideologies, conflicts, and psychosocial problems that result for those who aspire to male dominance and those affected by its pursuit (O'Neil, 2008; Pleck, 1995; Styver, 2007).
For example, gender aware approaches such as examining masculinity ideologies and gender-role conflict have demonstrated a link between conformity to dominant masculinity norms and multiple phenomenon including depression (Mahalik & Rochlen, 2006b), body image and embodiment (Benjamin, 2001; Kimmel & Mahalik, 2005; Light & Kirk, 2000), disclosing abuse (Sorsoli, Kia-Keating & Grossman, 2008), dominating others (Light & Kirk), alcohol use (Peralta, 2007), loneliness (Blazina Settle, & Eddins, 2008; Freeman, Anderman, & Jensen, 2007), nutritional choices (Levi et al., 2006), risk-taking (Schopp, Good, Mazurek, Barker, & Stucky, 2007), body-image and disability (Benjamin, 2001; Kimmel & Mahalik, 2004), overall psychological distress (Mahalik & Rochlen, 2006b), self-concept (Mahalik et al., 2006a; Orlofsky & Stake, 1981) and help seeking (Addis & Mahalik, 2003; Mahalik, Good, & Englar-Carlson, 2003; Mahalik & Rochlen, 2006b; Schopp et al., 2007; Surtees et al., 2002).
There are several constructs in the literature to describe the linkages between maladaptive behavior and conformity to dominant masculinity such as, the masculine mystique, normal male alexythymia, and male privilege (Berger, Levant, McMillan, Kelleher, & Sellers, 2005; Good, Borst, & Wallace, 1994; Kahn, 2009; Robertson & Fitz, 1991). These three constructs are not identical in description, but they all involve similar themes such as (a) rejecting characteristics and behaviors constructed as feminine, (b) a belief in the superiority over women, (c) a limited gender role expression, (d) low feelings of self-worth, and (e) co-morbid psychosocial concerns (relationships, mental health issues, problematic risk taking, etc.).
Scholars are also beginning to make this link between masculinities and education (Benjamin, 2001; Harris III & Harper, 2008). Researchers have found connections between dominant masculinity and motivation and work-effort (Mellanby, Maxtin, O'Doherty, 2000; West, 1999), literacy and textual practices (Kehler & Greig, 2005), conflicts (Harris III & Harper), disengagement (Harris III & Harper) educational testing (Benjamin) among a host of other variables. This research has emphasized that men who aspire to dominance often reject academic behaviors that they construct as feminine (Benjamin; Kehler & Greig, 2005). Reading, writing, analysis, oral discussion and debate, all behaviors that have engaged humans for thousands of years in cultures all over the world, when constructed as feminine" run counter to dominant masculinity, which by definition rejects women and femininity (Kimmel & Mahalik, 2004).
However, because masculinity is constructed, it also suggests that ways in which people negotiate with and conform to masculinities will vary by person, culture, and context (Connell, 1995; Kimmel & Mahalik, 2004). In addition to investigating the problematic consequences of male dominance, researchers have also examined dominance-resistant masculinities. This implies that there may be adaptive forms of masculinities that serve to help people adapt without explicitly ascribing to dominant narratives. This does not suggest that varying access to male privilege will not exist due to these alternative constructions, but rather various constructions may have an impact on various kinds of dialogues and social action (Kahn, Holmes, & Brett, in press).
Therefore, there may be adaptive ways in which masculinity is constructed in educational settings that does not rely on dominant narratives about men and masculinity (Benjamin, 2001 ; West, 1999). This study hopes to add to this perspective by exploring the relationship between conformity to masculinity norms and academic motivation in college. Rather than recognizing all male-identified people as sharing a similar motivational "style" the interest here is to see whether masculinity norms are related to academic motivation. Our hope is to understand the ways in which college students make sense of gender for themselves and how this meaning making can be adaptive and/or maladaptive when it comes to educational success. The results of this work can help to emphasize within group differences and identify what problematic aspects of masculinity may be contributing to academic problems and which may be leading to successes in higher education (Benjamin; Harris III& Harper, 2008; Orlofsky & Stake, 1981; Surtees et ai., 2002).
The hypothesis for this study is that masculinity norms that emphasize rigid gender role behaviors, avoidance and rejection of behavior that is constructed as feminine, and avoidance and difficulty in forming relationships that could aid in assistance and progress will impair college student's desire to want to learn and succeed since these behaviors will likely run counter to academic requisites for success. We assume, akin to literature in other areas as mentioned, these norms (a) do not allow individual men to access the diverse human characteristics they possess, (b) construct a masculinity that is overly self-reliant and distant from the rich relationships available in a college setting, and (c) also may be correlated with other behaviors that are less adaptive in a college setting (alcohol use, unhealthy eating behavior, aggressiveness, etc.). Those that aspire toward this kind of masculinity will not be motivated in a setting in which these characteristics will not likely lead to progress. It is also our assertion that there will be diverse ways people will understand masculinities and that other behaviors constructed as masculine will aid in academic motivation.
This study took place at a small liberal arts college in the northeastern United States. Participants were recruited through faculty members who teach introductory courses in diverse disciplines (including Psychology, Math, English, Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Science). Students were told that information they shared would be kept confidential unless it revealed information that would be mandated by law to report. One hundred eighty-eight students volunteered to participate in the study. This represents approximately 12 percent of the undergraduate student body at this institution (stateuniversity.com, 2009). Students received extra credit in courses for participating.
The participants in the study all identified as male, although a trans/genderqueer option was made available to endorse. Of the original sample, sixteen data packets were dropped due to incomplete information for a total of one hundred sixty-four students (n = 164). The sample was primarily represented by White students (n = 137, 84%) and included African-American (n = 8, 5%), Latino-American (n = 7, 4%), Asian-American (n = 2, 1%), Native American (n = 1, <1%), and bi/multiracial (n = 9, 5%) students. These proportions are approximately representative of the overall population of the college (stateuniversity.com, 2009). The average age of the sample was 20.3 (SD = 4.42) and included students from first year (n = 82, 50%), sophomore (n = 41, 25%), junior (n = 31, 19%), and senior year (n = 10, 7%).
The Conformity to Male Norms Inventory (CMNI) was used to assess participants' adherence and conformity to prescribed influence of masculine ideology (Mahalik et al., 2003). The CMNI functions as a dimension in which 11 themes of hegemonic masculinity can be quantified (Mahalik et al., 2005). Hegemonic masculinity refers to a system by which people conform to idealized notions of the ways in which dominant men define masculinity and reject characteristics associated with femininity (rather than a reflection of how men may actually be) (Connell, 2005). The 11 definitive themes of hegemonic masculinity prevalent within the 94 items of the CMNI include (a) dominance, (b) emotional control, (c) disdain for homosexuals, (d) playboy, (e) power over women, (f) pursuit of status, (g) risk taking, (h) self-reliance, (i) violence, (j) winning/competition, (k) and work primacy (Mahalik et al., 2003; Smiler, 2006). The degree in which participants value or adhere to each of these eleven themes is indicated in their response to the 94 items on a 4-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree).
Previous investigations using the CMNI as a means to calculate adherence and conformity to hegemonic masculine ideology have demonstrably verified its internal reliability (Mahalik et al., 2003; Smiler, 2006). Of the 11 subscales, based on 11 themes of hegemonic masculinity, coefficient alphas have ranged from ([alpha] = 0.70) to ([alpha] = 0.92), (Mahalik et al., 2003; Smiler, 2006). For this study, similar reliability estimates were found for the subscales: dominance ([alpha] = .57), emotional control ([alpha] = .90), disdain for homosexuals ([alpha] = .86), playboy ([alpha] = .82), power over women ([alpha] = .81), pursuit of status ([alpha] = .58), risk taking ([alpha] = .80), self- reliance (.86), violence, ([alpha] = .80), winning/competition, ([alpha] = .88), and work primacy ([alpha] = .76). The instrument has demonstrated several types of validity including convergent and divergent as well as empirical support for the 11 subscales as unique factors (Mahalik et al., 2003; Mahalik, Talmadge, Locke, & Scott, 2005; Smiler, 2006).
Participants' academic motivation was assessed by the Academic Motivation Scale (AMS) (Vallerand & Bissonnette, 1992). The Academic Motivation Scale consists of 28 items which are measured on a 7-point likert scale (1 representing; does not correspond at all to 7 representing; corresponds exactly). The twenty eight items are represented in three distinct subscales measuring intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation.
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are characterized as containing different subconstructs described as "dimensions" within each subscale. Intrinsic motivation dimensions include motivation toward (a) knowledge (IMTK), (b) accomplishments (IMTA), and (c) stimulation (IMTES). While extrinsic motivation is reflected through the dimensions (d) external (It is a requirement to succeed) (EMER), (e) introjected (To prove something about me to the outside world) (EMIN), and (f) identified regulation (I can identify how college helps me prepare for something else) (EMID). In addition, amotivation is assessed by the scale (AM) (Cokley, et al., 2001; Vallerand & Bissonnette, 1992).
The seven possible responses of each item are in response to the fundamental question "why do you go to college?" Each of the seven individual constructs includes four items. Sample items of each of the three subscales include, "For the pleasure I experience while surpassing myself in my studies (IMTA), and "Because eventually it will enable me to enter the job market in a field that I like (EMID) (Cokley et al., 2001; Vallerand & Bissonnette, 1992).
The Academic Motivation Scale has been found to have consistent reliability estimates (Barkoukis, Tsorbatzoudis, Grouios, & Sideridis, 2008; Cokley et al., 2001; Vallerand & Bissonnette, 1992; Vallerand, Pelletier, Blais, Briere, Senecal, & Vallieres, 1992). Vallerand et al.'s (1992) fundamental analysis of the Academic Motivation Scale demonstrated reasonable internal consistency among each of the seven subscales ranging from .60 to .86. In this study, coefficient alphas for the subscales were similar to prior research: IMTK ([alpha] = .88), IMTA ([alpha] = .86), IMTES ([alpha] = .87), EMER ([alpha] = .77), EMIN ([alpha] = .83), EMID ([alpha] = .82), and amotivation ([alpha] = .53). In terms of validity, Cokley et al. (2001) and Barkoukis et al., (2008) found support of the separate motivational factors through confirmatory factor analysis. In addition, Grouzet, Otis, and Pelletier (2006) demonstrated support for cross-gender factor invariance and overall validity of the AMS as a measure of motivation.
Students were each given a research packet which contained the two scales and a sheet requesting demographic information (as discussed). Students were asked to give their honest opinions about their understanding of masculinities and how they felt about being in college. Students filled out the research packet in class which took approximately twenty minutes.
The research team was interested in whether there was a relationship between conforming to masculinity norms and academic motivation in a sample of male-identified college students. Canonical correlation was used to determine the relationship between these variables. This method tests the correlation of two latent variables where the first represents a set of predictor variables and the second a set of criterion variables. The method examines inner-correlations between the sets and creates latent variables called functions which represent the greatest degree of predictability from each set. The functions are somewhat analogous to factors or over-riding constructs that suggest overall relationships between the multiple measured variables (Sherry & Henson, 2005). In this case, canonical correlation was used to determine the relationship between the eleven masculinity norms as predictors and the seven types of motivation as criterion variables. Canonical correlation is utilized when multiple predictor and criterion variables exist in a data set and one hopes to find the best pattern of predictors to criterion (Sherry & Henson).
While there are several methods used in canonical correlation exploratory analysis, we utilized general steps and suggestions outlined by Sherry & Henson (2005) for using this method with personality variables. Prior to performing the analysis, we removed variables that indicated low alphas ([alpha] < .75) in order to strengthen the overall analysis. Because there were numerous predictor and criterion variables, we wanted to be more confident that significant findings were relevant and not merely a reflection of including numerous variables in the equation. Removing less than reliable measures for this study provided a more conservative approach which would yield a stronger argument if significance were found.
The masculinity norms: dominance and pursuit of status and the motivation type: amotivation were removed. In the final analysis, this study had fifteen total variables with 9 masculinity norms (emotional control, disdain for homosexuals, playboy, power over women, risk taking, self- reliance, violence, winning/competition, and work primacy) and 6 motivation types (IMTK, IMTA, IMTES, EMER, EMIN, and EMID). This also met the minimum 10:1 participants to variables ratio suggestion for canonical correlation (resulting in a 10.9 to 1) (Yang & Gysbers, 2007). All assumptions regarding linearity and multivariate normality were achieved including a normal linear distribution and homoscedasticity across the predictor variables. In addition, multicollinearity was assessed by examining tolerance and variance inflation factors (VIF) for all variables. No variables were redundant and all were within normal range (tolerance was significantly greater than .1 and VIF was less than ten for all included variables). For means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations (see Table 1).
The first step of the exploratory canonical correlation analysis is to determine whether the overall canonical model is significant. Typically, Wilks' Lamba ([lambda]) is utilized to make this determination (Sherry & Henson, 2005; Yang & Gysbers, 2007). In this study, the full model of six canonical functions was statistically significant with a Wilks' [lambda] of .51, F(54, 764.35) = 1.96, p <. 000.
The next step is to determine which canonical functions are significant. In canonical correlation, the number of functions is always equivalent to the smallest set of predictor or criterion variables (in this case six) (Sherry & Henson, 2005). The functions are evaluated hierarchically beginning with the full model and then testing the other combinations of functions (2 to 6 then 3 to 6, etc.) (Sherry & Henson, 2005). In this case, the full model was significant (as above) as was function 2 to 6 ([lambda] = .68, F(40, 656.63) = 1.5, p < .026). The other functions were not significant (see Table 2). This indicates further analysis of the first two functions, since after removing their effects from the overall effect, the rest do not contribute significance. The first function's canonical correlation relation was .50 (r = .50), contributing 25 percent of the variance within its function. The second function's was .40 (r = .40), contributing 16 percent.
To determine which predictor and criterion variables are significant in each function, it is necessary to evaluate the structure coefficients ([r.sub.s], see Table 2) (Sherry & Henson, 2005). Researchers often use a range of standards for this type of analysis to determine which variables to include (ranging from .30 to .45) (Sherry & Henson; Yang & Gysbers, 2007). This analysis used .40 as the cut-off, a relatively conservative estimate, since the use of this method is relatively new for these constructs.
For function one, predictor variables included playboy, violence, and work primacy and criterion variables included all three forms of intrinsic motivation: IMTK (To Know), IMTA (To Achieve), and IMTES (To Stimulate) (see Table 3). Work primacy was the strongest contributor ([r.sub.s] = -.72), with violence ([r.sub.s] = .52) and playboy ([r.sub.s] = .42) being low/moderate contributors. However, when one examines the pattern of contribution in the function coefficients, playboy is a larger contributor than violence (see Table 3).
For function two, predictor variables included emotional control, disdain for homosexuality, self-reliance and winning, and criterion variables included IMTK (To Know) and IMTES (To Stimulate) (see Table 2). Self-reliance ([r.sub.s] = -.71) and emotional control ([r.sub.s] = -.68) were the strongest contributors with winning ([r.sub.s] = -.42) and disdain for homosexuality ([r.sub.s] = -.44) contributing moderately (see Table 3) (Sherry & Henson, 2005).
And finally, it is important to discuss the signs of the variables and how they relate to each other. For function one, the predictor variables playboy & violence are positive, and work primacy is negative. All criterion variables IMTK, IMTA, and IMTES are also negative. This means that as conformity to masculine norms predictor variables work primacy decreases and violence and playboy increase, all three motivation criterion variables IMTK (To Know), IMTA (To Achieve), and IMTES (To Stimulate) decrease. Overall this function suggests that as men view work as less important and strive toward violence and playboy attitudes, their internal motivation for college decreases.
For function two, all predictor variables are negative (emotional control, disdain for homosexuality, self-reliance, and winning) and criterion variables all were positive (see Table 3). This suggests that as conformity to masculine norms predictor variables emotional control, disdain for homosexuality, self-reliance, and winning decrease, the criterion motivation variables IMTK (To Know) and IMTES (To Stimulate) increase. Overall men who reject emotional control, disdain for homosexuality, self-reliance, and winning, show an increase in their motivation in college.
Examining the communality coefficients can also yield which variables across both functions have the strongest contributions to the overall analysis (see Table 2). Communality coefficients are merely the summary of the amount of variance each variable contributes across functions (Sherry & Henson, 2005). In this case, for the predictor variables, the variables that contributed the most overall variance were emotional control ([h.sup.2] = .53), self-reliance ([h.sup.2] = .54), and work primacy ([h.sup.2] = .52).
This project concerned whether there is a relationship between conforming to masculinity norms and academic motivation in a sample of male-identified college students. Exploratory canonical correlation analysis revealed two significant functions. The first, contributing 25 percent of the overall variance, demonstrated that as conformity to masculine norms predictor variables: primacy of work decreases and playboy and violence increase, all three motivation criterion variables (IMTK (To Know), IMTA (To Achieve), and IMTES (To Stimulate) decrease. The second function, contributing 16% of the overall variance, indicated that as conformity to masculine norms predictor variables emotional control, disdain for homosexuality, self-reliance, and winning decrease, the criterion motivation variables IMTK (To Know) and IMTES (To Stimulate) increase.
Function one can be explained as a psychosocial illustration of rejecting femininity or what has been called the masculine mystique (Kahn, 2009; Robertson & Fitzgerald, 1992). Male identified people who primarily aspire toward traditional aspects of dominant masculinity (such as violence and playboy) may develop psychological characteristics to maintain that dominance by avoiding characteristics that present them as "feminine" or more vulnerable (Connell, 1995; Kahn, 2009). Experiences of intrinsic motivation present potential sources of anxiety and discomfort to those who identify masculinity as primarily a methodology of violence and objectifying relationships, since they suggest looking inward as a primary way of growing and developing which would allow for questioning one's motives, behaviors, and impact on others.
In many ways, the definition of intrinsic motivation (to know, to achieve and to be stimulated) reflect the goals of liberal arts education (McCarthy, 2008). Striving for dominant masculinity in this regard runs counter to what educators hope to do, so it is not surprising that these are at odds with one another. Students who struggle to aspire to those dominant masculinity norms and the maintenance of male privilege will likely have difficulty in environments in which they are asked to challenge their distancing facade, particularly when they are asked to be introspective and challenging of the self. The hegemonic maintenance of dominant masculinity will potentially present stress, anxiety, and other concerns for those who are unwilling or unable to question the adoption of this stance toward self and others, motivations, behaviors, and impact on others.
This stance is particularly problematic and maladaptive (particularly when combined with less desire to view work as an important aspect of identity) in a college setting. Academic settings require cooperation, sometimes with women in positions of authority, and that the hegemonic masculinity requisites to "reject the feminine" renders these relationships difficult at best.
Function two suggests that aspirations toward male dominance are not the only options for masculinities. Masculinity that rejects the norms of winning, disdain for homosexuality, emotional control, and self-reliance is not a competitive, hierarchical or dominant form of masculinity. Rather, it is a type of masculinity more consonant with the expression of emotion, openness to experiences, and acceptance toward the diversity of men's sexual preferences. This type of masculinity is an adaptive form of masculinity in a college setting. Without the constraints of needing to win, to demonstrate homophobia, to keep one's emotions intact and to avoid assistance from others, it may be easier and more enjoyable to want to understand oneself and others (Hobza & Rochlen, 2009; O'Neil, 2008). The desire to know and be stimulated by knowledge in a college setting seems consonant with this approach.
In particular, with the inverse relationship of self-reliance being a strong contributor (striving toward an "other reliance" perhaps), one can see how this form of masculinity is adaptive. Survival in a college setting requires the desire and ability to connect and get assistance from others (Harris III & Harper, 2008). Whether those others are roommates, residence life staff, coaches, mental health professionals, faculty, or various staff members, students are presented with daily opportunities for connection and adaptation to a new environment. Those willing to make these connections are likely to be more able to adapt and perhaps more likely to be able to be engaged in the educational activities of the college.
With two significant functions we can begin problematizing the essentialized assumption that "men" are having problems in higher education. Teasing out these two functions, we begin to ask: which men, under what circumstances, and how does their own understanding of masculinity contribute to their motivation? The data lends evidence that a contributing factor to some men's difficulties in college is related to their desire to engage in violence and objectifying relationships while avoiding introspective and expressive behaviors that threaten male privilege and the ability to maintain dominance. Simultaneously, not all men aspire towards this stance and construct masculinity in such a way that they reject many of the characteristics associated with dominance (such as winning, emotional control, homophobia and self-reliance) and embrace a masculinity that allows for relationships, emotional expression, and an intrinsic desire for knowledge and internal stimulation.
While this explanation for these functions is plausible, it is important to keep in mind that this is correlational data. In other words, which variable (conformity to masculinity norms or academic motivation) is actually the "predictor" is not clear. It is just as plausible that the rejection and discomfort with intrinsic types of experiences contributes to men developing externalizing behaviors in which they manipulate and treat others as objects, more as a defense mechanism. In this way sexism can be viewed as a defense mechanism used by people who are uncomfortable exploring aspects of the self. Similarly, for people who are more motivated by the desire to know and to be stimulated by ideas and internal exploration of the self, they may develop characteristics that are more cooperative, reliant on others, expressive of emotion and comfortable with variance in men's sexual identities. This research is unable to infer causal direction, perhaps further research in the form of path analysis, to better understand the direction of this relationship.
Given these explanations, both functions only accounted for a total of 41 percent of the variance in the data set. This suggests that other variables need to be included in the analysis to understand the complex relationship between these constructs. With a larger and more diverse data set, one could examine the contributions of social/demographic factors as listed previously (such as race, generational values, access to resources, etc.) in addition to other potentially important individual differences (such as intelligence, family pressure to succeed, self-esteem, etc.). In addition, this data set was weighted with younger students and exploring age as a factor would make sense since it is possible that students develop and negotiate masculinities and motivation differently at different stages of their college career.
Future research should continue to explore masculinities as a phenomenon that is experienced by all people rather than a phenomenon embodied in biological males (Kahn, 2009; Smiler, 2006). Given the premise of this approach to understanding the diverse ways in which men experience masculinities, we should also continue to understand the adaptive and maladaptive masculinities for women, trans, and queer/gender queer communities.
And since masculinities are diversely experienced, the interventions necessary to assist struggling students will need to take that into account. Merely having more biological male role models or using sports examples to illustrate academic concepts will not address the struggles with masculinity that impede people from developing more adaptive styles of engaging in higher education. This is not to suggest that sports metaphors and the like couldn't be useful in some contexts with some people, but assuming that these are what is needed "for men" ignores the impact of how people come to understand masculinities and how that then influences their choices in a myriad of ways. This research perspective suggests that helping students become aware of the problematic aspects of dominant masculinities and assisting them in understanding what adaptive masculinity options exist can create in-roads to addressing concerns in higher education.
In conclusion, this research was aimed at exploring the relationship between conformity to masculine norms and academic motivation. The results indicated two significant functions or "masculinity styles" as they relate to motivation. This research is part of an on-going effort to stress the importance of exploring masculinities as a potential contributor to understanding people's experiences and engagement in the world, rather than making broad categorical assumptions about biological types.
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JACK S. KAHN (a), BENJAMIN L. BRETT (b), AND JESSICA R. HOLMES (c)
(a) Psychology Department, Curry College.
(b) Psychology Department and Counseling Graduate Program, State University of New York at New Paltz.
(c) Education and Human Services Department, and Mental Health Counseling/Criminal Justice Program, Suffolk University.
This research could not have been completed without the additional assistance of Curry College's Eric Weiser, Bruce Steinberg, and Heather Persson.
Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Jack S. Kahn, Psychology Department, Kennedy Building, Curry College, 1071 Blue Hill Avenue, Milton, MA, 02186. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Table 1 Summary of Intercorrelations, Means, Standard Deviations, for Scores on the AMS and CMNI 1 2 3 4 1. IMTK -- 0.67 ** .66 ** 0.64 ** 2. IMTA 0.67 ** -- .63 ** 0.49 ** 3. IMTES 0.66 * 0.63 ** -- 0.41 ** 4. EMIN 0.64 ** 0.49 ** .41 ** -- 5. EMER 0.32 ** 0.30 ** .20 ** 0.63 ** 6. EMID 0.56 ** 0.70 ** .49 ** 0.51 ** 7. AM -0.23 ** -0.16 * 0 -0.40 ** 8. Winning -0.07 0.02 -.17 * 0.11 9. Emotional Control -0.22 ** -0.14 -.23 ** -0.20 ** 10. Risk Taking -0.13 -0.15 * -0.09 -0.01 11. Violence -0.23 ** -0.19 * -.24 ** -0.06 12. Power Over Women -0.15 * -0.18 * -0.03 0.11 13. Dominance 0.05 0.05 -0.01 0.21 ** 14. Playboy -0.07 -0.20 * -0.06 0.02 15. Self-Reliance -0.31 ** -0.26 ** -.19 * -0.27 ** 16. Work Primacy 0.31 ** 0.37 ** 0.34 ** 0.20 ** 17. Disdain Homosexuality -0.04 0.04 -0.09 0.07 18. Pursuit Status 0.04 -0.05 -0.11 0.11 5 6 7 8 1. IMTK 0.32 ** -0.23 ** 0.56 -0.07 2. IMTA 0.30 ** -0.16 * 0.70 ** 0.02 3. IMTES 0.20 ** 0 0.49 ** -0.17 * 4. EMIN 0.63 ** -0.40 ** 0.51 ** 0.11 5. EMER - -0.14 0.49 ** 0.12 6. EMID 0.49 ** -- -0.15 * 0.06 7. AM -0.14 -0.15 * -- 0.02 8. Winning 0.12 0.02 0.06 -- 9. Emotional Control -0.08 0.14 -0.13 0.20 * 10. Risk Taking -0.09 0.12 -0.15 0.18 * 11. Violence -0.13 0.06 -0.20 * 0.27 ** 12. Power Over Women 0 0.1 -0.11 0.1 13. Dominance .32 ** 0.08 0.21 ** 0.32 ** 14. Playboy -0.08 0.13 -0.15 * 0.06 15. Self-Reliance -0.05 0.35 ** -0.16 * 0.11 16. Work Primacy 0.13 -0.07 0.19 * -0.06 17. Disdain Homosexuality 0.12 -0.04 0.07 0.36 ** 18. Pursuit Status 0.08 -0.16 * 0.01 0.28 ** 9 10 11 12 1. IMTK -0.23 -0.13 -0.23 ** -0.15 * 2. IMTA -0.14 -0.15 * -0.20 * -0.18 * 3. IMTES -0.23 * -0.09 -0.24 * -0.03 4. EMIN -0.20 ** -0.01 -0.06 -0.11 5. EMER -0.08 -0.09 -0.12 0 6. EMID -0.13 -0.15 -0.20 * -0.11 7. AM 0.14 0.12 0.06 0.1 8. Winning 0.19 * 0.18 * 0.27 ** 0.10 * 9. Emotional Control -- 0.01 0.25 ** 0.27 ** 10. Risk Taking 0.01 - 0.46 ** 0.21 ** 11. Violence 0.25 ** 0.46 ** - 0.20 ** 12. Power Over Women 0.27 ** 0.21 ** 0.20 ** - 13. Dominance 0.13 0.12 0.07 0.21 ** 14. Playboy 0.03 0.15 * 0.14 0.37 ** 15. Self-Reliance 0.46 ** 0.08 0.14 0.30 ** 16. Work Primacy -0.02 -0.13 -0.11 -0.01 17. Disdain Homosexuality 0.24 ** 0.02 0.12 0.23 ** 18. Pursuit Status -0.02 0.17 * 0.08 0.04 13 14 15 16 1. IMTK 0.05 -0.07 -0.31 ** 0.31 ** 2. IMTA 0.05 -0.19 * -0.26 * 0.37 ** 3. IMTES -0.02 -0.06 -0.20 * 0.34 ** 4. EMIN 0.21 ** 0.02 -0.27 ** 0.20 ** 5. EMER 0.32 ** -0.08 -0.05 0.13 6. EMID 0.21 ** -0.15 * -0.16 * -0.19 * 7. AM 0.08 0.13 0.35 ** -0.07 8. Winning 0.32 ** 0.06 0.11 -0.06 9. Emotional Control 0.13 0.03 0.47 ** -0.02 10. Risk Taking 0.12 0.15 * 0.08 -0.13 11. Violence 0.07 0.14 0.14 -0.11 12. Power Over Women 0.21 ** 0.37 ** 0.29 ** -0.01 13. Dominance - 0.15 0 0 14. Playboy 0.15 - 0.04 0.15 15. Self-Reliance 0 0.04 - -0.39 ** 16. Work Primacy 0 0.15 -0.39 ** - 17. Disdain Homosexuality 0.27 ** -0.02 0.1 -0.06 18. Pursuit Status 0.24 ** 0.04 -0.23 ** 0.02 17 18 M SD 1. IMTK -0.04 0.03 19.7 4.67 2. IMTA 0.04 -0.05 17.8 5.02 3. IMTES -0.09 -0.11 14.1 5.33 4. EMIN 0.07 0.11 22.8 3.94 5. EMER 0.12 0.08 23.2 3.83 6. EMID 0.07 0.01 7.56 4.5 7. AM -0.04 -0.16 * 20.6 4.93 8. Winning 0.36 ** 0.28 ** 19.3 5.31 9. Emotional Control 0.24 ** -0.02 16 553 10. Risk Taking 0.02 0.17 * 17.5 4.2 11. Violence 0.12 0.08 13.4 3.75 12. Power Over Women 0.23 ** 0.04 10.5 3.66 13. Dominance 0.27 ** 0.24 ** 5.93 1.89 14. Playboy -0.02 0.04 15.4 5.49 15. Self-Reliance 0.1 -0.23 * 7.38 335 16. Work Primacy -0.06 0.02 10.5 3.38 17. Disdain Homosexuality - 0.08 18.3 5.4 18. Pursuit Status 0.07 - 11.2 2.25 Notes. N= 164, ** = significant at .01 level, * = significant at .05 level (Two-tailed test). AMS = Academic Motivation Scale; CMNI = Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory; IMTK = Internal Motivation To Know; IMTA = Intrinsic Motivation To Accomplish; IMTES = Intrinsic Motivation To Experience Stimulation; EMIN = External Motivation Introjected; EMER = Ex trinsic Motivation External; EMID = External Motivation Identified; M= Mean; SD = Standard Deviation. Table 2 Function Analysis Sig. Roots Wilks' F DF Error of F Canon Squared Corr. Corr. 1 to 6 0.51 1.98 54 764.35 0.001 0.50 0.25 2 to 6 0.51 1.98 54 764.35 0.001 0.50 0.25 3 to 6 0.82 1.13 28 545.86 0.287 0.32 0.10 4 to 6 0.91 0.83 18 430.41 0.668 0.21 0.04 5 to 6 0.95 0.82 18 430.41 0.668 0.21 0.04 6 to 6 0.98 0.68 4 154.00 0.606 0.13 0.02 Note: N = 164. Wilks = Wilks Lamda test; F = Analysis of Variance; DF = Degrees of Freedom; Sig of F = Significance of Analysis of Variance; Canon Corr. = Canonical Correlation; Squared Corr. = Squared Correlation. Table 3 Function 1 & 2 Function 1 [r.sub. Variable Coef [r.sub.s] s.sup.2] Emotional Control 0.21 0.27 0.07 Disdain for -0.13 0.05 0.00 homosexuals Playboy 0.50 0.42 * 0.18 Power over Women -0.02 0.12 0.01 Risk Taking 0.00 0.30 0.03 Self- Reliance -0.25 0.20 0.04 Violence 0.30 0.52 * 0.27 Winning/Competition 0.12 0.28 0.08 Work Primacy -0.84 -0.72 0.52 IMTK -0.18 -0.58 0.34 IMTA 0.82 0.79 * 0.62 IMTES -0.54 -0.80 * 0.64 EMER 0.57 -0.15 0.02 EMIN -0.37 -0.18 0.03 EMID 0.52 -0.32 0.10 Function 2 [r.sub. Variable Coef [r.sub.s] s.sup.2] [h.sup.2] Emotional Control -0.29 -0.68 * 0.46 0.53 Disdain for -0.24 -0.44 * 0.19 0.19 homosexuals Playboy 0.22 0.23 0.05 0.23 Power over Women 0.22 0.03 0.00 0.01 Risk Taking 0.31 0.10 0.01 0.04 Self- Reliance -0.63 -0.71 * 0.50 0.54 Violence 0.20 -0.33 0.11 0.38 Winning/Competition 0.24 -0.42 * 0.18 0.26 Work Primacy 0.25 0.06 0.00 0.52 IMTK 0.79 0.64 * 0.41 0.75 IMTA 0.90 0.13 0.02 0.64 IMTES 0.19 0.45 * 0.20 0.66 EMER 0.43 0.38 0.14 0.16 EMIN -0.81 -0.22 0.05 0.08 EMID 0.58 0.31 0.10 0.20 Notes: N = 164. AMS = Academic Motivation Scale; CMNI = Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory; IMTK = Internal Motivation To Know; IMTA = Intrinsic Motivation To Accomplish; IMTES = Intrinsic Motivation To Experience Stimulation; EMIN = External Motivation Introjected; EMER = Extrinsic Motivation External; EMID = External Motivation Identified; M = Mean; SD = Standard Deviation. Coef = Standardized canonical functional coefficient, [r.sub.s] = Structure coefficient, [r.sub.s.sup.2]= Squared structure coefficient, [h.sup.2]= communality coefficient, * > .40 criterion for inclusion.
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