Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 43, Issue 8, pp 1547–1557 | Cite as

On the Validity of Popular Masculinity Rating Scales with Gay Men

  • Marcus Alt
  • Adam M. Lewis
  • William Ming Liu
  • Eric Vilain
  • Francisco J. Sánchez
Original Paper


During the past decade, greater quantitative attention has been given to how gay men’s lives are affected by traditional notions of masculinity. Consequently, it is important that masculinity-related measures that are often used in research are valid for use with gay men. This study examined the factor structures, loadings, and psychometric properties of three commonly used masculinity-related measures: the Gender Role Conflict Scale, the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory, and the Reference Group Identity Dependence Scale. Data were collected via an online survey of 920 self-identified gay men (M age = 32.48 years, SD = 11.73). Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that while the goodness of fit statistics did not always indicate the model fit, there were similar endorsements of items across the three masculinity scales and subscale factor loadings consistent with published studies using mostly heterosexual male samples. Implications for future masculinity scale research on gay men are discussed.


Confirmatory factor analysis Masculinity scales Gender role Sexual orientation Psychometrics 



We thank Jim Buzinski, Espen Correll, Ross Mar Divinagracia, Anthony Fina, and Jonathan S. Suhre for their assistance on this project. Portions of this data were presented at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, August 2011.


  1. Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155–162. doi: 10.1037/h0036215.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Blashill, A., & Hughes, H. (2009). Gender role and gender role conflict: Preliminary consideration for psychotherapy with gay men. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 13, 170–186. doi: 10.1080/19359700902914300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blashill, A., & Vander Wal, J. S. (2010). Gender role conflict as a mediator between social sensitivity and depression in a sample of gay men. International Journal of Men’s Health, 9, 26–39. doi: 10.3149/jmh.0901.26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, T. A. (2006). Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bryant, F. B., & Yarnold, P. R. (1995). Principal components analysis and exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. In L. G. Grimm & R. R. Yarnold (Eds.), Reading and understanding multivariate statistics (pp. 99–136). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  6. Burn, S. M., & Ward, A. Z. (2005). Men’s conformity to traditional masculinity and relationship satisfaction. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 6, 254–263. doi: 10.1037/1524-9220.6.4.254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. David, D. S., & Brannon, R. (1976). The male sex role: Our culture’s blueprint of manhood, and what its done for us lately. In D. David & R. Brannon (Eds.), The forty-nine percent majority: The male sex role (pp. 1–48). New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  8. Fischgrund, B. N., Halkitis, P. N., & Carroll, R. A. (2012). Conceptions of hypermasculinity and mental health states in gay and bisexual men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 13, 123–135. doi: 10.1037/a0024836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gosling, S. D., Vazire, S., Srivastava, S., & John, O. P. (2004). Should we trust web-based studies? A comparative analysis of six preconceptions about internet questionnaires. American Psychologist, 59, 93–104. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.59.2.93.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Gough, H. G. (1964). Manual for the California Psychological Inventory (rev ed.). Palo Alto: Consulting Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  11. Hamilton, C. J., & Mahalik, J. R. (2009). Minority stress, masculinity, and social norms predicting gay men’s health risk behaviors. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56, 132–141. doi: 10.1037/a0014440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Herdman, K. J., Choi, N., Fuqua, D. R., & Newman, J. L. (2012). Gender Role Conflict Scale: Validation for a sample of gay men and lesbian women. Psychological Reports, 110, 227–232. doi: 10.2466/02.PRO.110.1.227-232.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1998). Fit indices in covariance structure modeling: Sensitivity to under parameterized model misspecification. Psychological Methods, 3, 424–453. doi: 10.1037/1082-989X.3.4.424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jankowski, G. S., Diedrichs, P. C., & Halliwell, E. (2014). Can appearance conversations explain differences between gay and heterosexual men’s body dissatisfaction? Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 15, 68–77. doi: 10.1037/a0031796.
  16. Johnson, K. L., Gill, S., Reichman, V., & Tassinary, L. G. (2007). Swagger, sway, and sexuality: Sexual orientation from body motion and morphology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 321–334.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Kato, T. (2012). Development of the Coping Flexibility scale: Evidence for the coping flexibility hypothesis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 59, 262–273. doi: 10.1037/a0027770.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kimmel, S. B., & Mahalik, J. R. (2005). Body image concerns of gay men: The roles of minority stress and conformity to masculine norms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 1185–1190. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.73.6.1185.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: Saunders.Google Scholar
  20. Levant, R. F., Wimer, D. J., & William, C. M. (2011). An evaluation of the Health Behavior Inventory-20 (HBI-20) and its relationship to masculinity and attitudes towards seeking psychological help among college men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 12, 26–41. doi: 10.1037/a0021014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Levant, R. F., & Wong, Y. J. (2013). Race and gender as moderators of the relationship between the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology and alexithymia: An intersectional perspective. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 14, 329–333. doi: 10.1037/a0029551 .
  22. Lippa, R. A. (2005). Sexual orientation and personality. Annual Review of Sex Research, 16, 119–153.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Lippa, R., & Connelly, S. (1990). Gender diagnosticity: A new Bayesian approach to gender-related individual differences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 1051–1065. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.59.5.1051.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Liu, W. M., & Iwamoto, D. K. (2007). Conformity to masculine norms, Asian values, coping strategies, peer group influence, and substance use among Asian American men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 8, 25–39. doi: 10.1037/1524-9220.8.1.25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mahalik, J. R., Levi-Minzi, M., & Walker, G. (2007). Masculinity and health behaviors in Australian men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 8, 240–249. doi: 10.1037/1524-9220.8.4.240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mahalik, J. R., Locke, B. D., Ludlow, L. H., Diemer, M. A., Scott, R. P. J., Gottfried, M., … Freitas, G. (2003). Development of the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 4, 3–25. doi: 10.1037/1524-9220.4.1.3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mahalik, J. R., & Rochlen, A. B. (2006). Men’s likely response to clinical depression: What are they and do masculinity norms predict them? Sex Roles, 55, 659–667. doi: 10.1007/s11199-006-9121-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McKinley, J. C., & Hathaway, S. R. (1943). The identification and measurement of the psychoneuroses in medical practice. Journal of the American Medical Association, 122, 161–167. doi: 10.1001/jama.1943.02840200017004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Moradi, B., Mohr, J. J., Worthington, R. L., & Fassinger, R. E. (2009). Counseling psychology research on sexual (orientation) minority issues: Conceptual and methodological challenges and opportunities. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56, 5–22. doi: 10.1037/a0014572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Moradi, B., Velez, B. L., & Parent, M. C. (2013). The theory of male reference group identity dependence: Roles of social desirability, masculinity ideology, and collective identity. Sex Roles, 68, 415–426. doi: 10.1007/s11199-013-0258-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ngun, T. C., Ghahramni, N., Sánchez, F. J., Bocklandt, S., & Vilain, E. (2011). The genetics of sex differences in brain and behavior. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 32, 227–246. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2010.10.001.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Norwalk, K. E., Vandiver, B. J., White, A. M., & Englar-Carlson, M. (2011). Factor structure of the gender role conflict scale in African American and European American men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 12, 128–143. doi: 10.1037/a0022799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ojeda, L., & Liang, C. T. H. (2014). Ethnocultural and gendered determinants of coping among Mexican American adolescent men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 15, 296–304. doi: 10.1037/a0033293.
  34. O’Neil, J. M. (2008). Summarizing 25 years of research on men’s gender role conflict using the Gender Role Conflict Scale: New research paradigms and clinical implications. The Counseling Psychologist, 36, 358–445. doi: 10.1177/0011000008317057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. O’Neil, J., Helms, B., Gable, R., David, L., & Wrightsman, L. (1986). Gender-Role Conflict scale: College men’s fear of femininity. Sex Roles, 14, 335–350.Google Scholar
  36. Pachankis, J. E., Westmaas, J. L., & Dougherty, L. R. (2011). The influence of sexual orientation and masculinity on young men’s tobacco smoking. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 142–152. doi: 10.1037/a0022917.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Panchankis, J. E., & Bernstein, L. B. (2012). An etiological model of anxiety in young gay men: From early stress to public self-consciousness. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 13, 107–122. doi: 10.1037/a0024594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Parent, M. C., & Moradi, B. (2009). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory and development of the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory-46. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 10, 175–189. doi: 10.1037/a0015481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Parent, M. C., & Moradi, B. (2011). An abbreviated tool for assessing conformity to masculine norms: Psychometric properties of the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory-46. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 12, 339–352. doi: 10.1037/a0021904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pett, M. A., Lackey, N. R., & Sullivan, J. J. (2003). Making sense of factor analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  41. Pierrehumbert, J. B., Bent, T., Munson, B., Bradlow, A. R., & Bailey, J. M. (2004). The influence of sexual orientation on vowel production (L). Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 116, 1905–1908.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Pleck, J. H. (1995). The gender role straight paradigm: An update. In R. F. Levant & W. S. Pollack (Eds.), A new psychology of men (pp. 11–32). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  43. Robinson, M. A., & Brewster, M. E. (2014). Motivations for fatherhood: Examining internalized heterosexism and gender-role conflict with childless gay and bisexual men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 15, 49–59. doi: 10.1037/a0031142.
  44. Rothgerber, H. (2013). Real men don’t eat (vegetable) quiche: Masculinity and the justification of meat consumption. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 14, 363–375. doi: 10.1037/a0030379.
  45. Sánchez, F. J., Bocklandt, S., & Vilain, E. (2009a). Gender role conflict, interest in casual sex, and relationship satisfaction among gay men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 10, 237–243. doi: 10.1037/a0016325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sánchez, F. J., Greenberg, S. T., Liu, W. M., & Vilain, E. (2009b). Reported effects of masculine ideals on gay men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 10, 73–87. doi: 10.1037/a0013513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sánchez, F. J., & Vilain, E. (2012). “Straight-acting gays”: The relationship between masculine consciousness, anti-effeminacy, and negative gay-identity. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 111–119. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-9912-z.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Sánchez, F. J., Westefeld, J. S., Liu, W. M., & Vilain, E. (2010). Masculine gender role conflict and negative feelings about being gay. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41, 104–111. doi: 10.1037/a0015805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Simonsen, G., Blazina, C., & Watkins, C. E. (2000). Gender role conflict and psychological well-being among gay men. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47, 85–89. doi: 10.1037/0022-0167.47.1.85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Spence, J. T., Helmreich, R., & Stapp, J. (1974). Personal Attributes Questionnaire [Database record]. Retrieved from PsycTESTS. doi: 10.1037/t02466-000.
  51. Szymanski, D. M., & Carr, E. R. (2008). The roles of gender role conflict and internalized heterosexism in gay and bisexual men’s psychological distress: Testing two mediation models. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 9, 40–54. doi: 10.1037/1524-9220.9.1.40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Szymanski, D. M., & Ikizler, A. S. (2013). Internalized heterosexism as a mediator in the relationship between gender role conflict, heterosexist discrimination, and depression among sexual minority men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 14, 211–219. doi: 10.1037/a0027787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Terman, L. M., & Miles, C. C. (1936). Sex and personality: Studies in masculinity and femininity. New York: McGraw-Hill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vandello, J. A., & Bosson, J. K. (2013). Hard won and easily lost: A review and synthesis of theory and research on precarious manhood. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 14, 101–113. doi: 10.1037/a0029826.
  55. Vincent, W., Parrott, D. J., & Peterson, J. L. (2011). Combined effects of masculine gender role stress and sexual prejudice on anger and aggression toward gay men. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41, 1237–1257. doi: 10.111/j.1559-1816.2011.00755.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wade, J. C. (2001). Professional men’s attitudes toward race and gender equity. Journal of Men’s Studies, 10, 73–88. doi: 10.3149/jms.1001.73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wade, J. C. (2008). Masculinity ideology, male reference group identity dependence, and African American men’s health-related attitudes and behaviors. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 9, 5–16. doi: 10.1037/1524-9220.9.1.5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wade, J. C., & Brittan-Powell, C. (2001). Men’s attitudes toward race and gender equity: The importance of masculinity ideology, gender-related traits, and reference group identity dependence. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 2, 42–50. doi: 10.1037/1524-9220.2.1.42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wade, J. C., & Coughlin, P. (2012). Male reference group identity dependence, masculinity ideology, and relationship satisfaction in men’s heterosexual romantic relationships. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 13, 325–339. doi: 10.1037/a0026278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wade, J. C., & Donis, E. (2007). Masculinity ideology, male identity, and romantic relationship quality among heterosexual and gay men. Sex Roles, 57, 775–786. doi: 10.1007/s11199-007-9303-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wade, J. C., & Gelso, C. J. (1998). Reference Group Identity Dependence Scale: A measure of male identity. The Counseling Psychologist, 26, 384–412. doi: 10.1177/0011000098263002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wade, J. C., & Rochlen, A. B. (2013). Introduction: Masculinity, identity, and the health and well-being of African American men [Editorial]. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 14, 1–6. doi: 10.1037/a0029612.
  63. Wei, M., & Chao, R. C. (2012). The Concerns about Counseling Racial Minority Clients Scale. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 59, 107–119. doi: 10.1037/a0026239.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Wester, S. R., Pionke, D. R., & Vogel, D. L. (2005). Male gender role conflict, gay men, and same-sex romantic relationships. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 6, 195–208. doi: 10.1037/1524-9220.6.3.195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wong, Y. J., Horn, A. J., & Chen, S. (2013). Perceived masculinity: The potential influence of race, racial essentialists beliefs, and stereotypes. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 14, 452–464. doi: 10.1037/a0030100.
  66. Wong, Y. J., Steinfedlt, J. A., Speight, Q. L., & Hickman, S. J. (2010). Content analysis of Psychology of Men & Masculinity (2000–2008). Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 11, 170–181. doi: 10.1037/a0019133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Yoo, H. C., Burrola, K. S., & Steger, M. F. (2010). A preliminary report on a new measure: Internalization of the Model Minority Myth measure (IM-4) and its psychological correlates among Asian American college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 57, 114–127. doi: 10.1037/a0017871.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus Alt
    • 1
  • Adam M. Lewis
    • 1
  • William Ming Liu
    • 1
  • Eric Vilain
    • 2
  • Francisco J. Sánchez
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychological and Quantitative FoundationsUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Center for Gender-Based Biology and Department of Human Genetics, David Geffen School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Counseling PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations