Masculinity and Violence Against Women from a Social-Ecological Perspective: Implications for Prevention

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The prescriptive and rigid nature of masculine gender roles has repeatedly been associated with a host of physical and mental health consequences for men and women alike. In particular, a body of literature demonstrates a significant relationship between boys’ and men’s conformity to masculine gender roles and their perpetration of violence against girls and women. In the following chapter, we begin by briefly defining masculine gender roles and reviewing the measurement of masculinity before presenting literature linking masculinity to intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual violence (SV) at various layers of the social ecology. We then turn our focus to the discussion of what prevention strategies currently look like at different levels of the social ecology and describe potential new strategies. In our discussion, we give attention to the differentiation between direct prevention strategies – those strategies explicitly developed to prevent IPV/SV – and indirect prevention strategies, strategies not originally intended for violence prevention but that may indirectly prevent violence (e.g., policies for paid leave, gender wage gap, etc.). We end the chapter with caveats, conclusions, and future directions. The ultimate goal of this chapter is to stimulate the development of, and research into, novel approaches for the primary prevention of IPV/TDV at multiple layers of the social ecology. The eradication of such forms of violence will ultimately require comprehensive efforts that integrate these multilayer strategies.


Masculinity Masculine gender role norms Intimate partner violence Sexual violence Gender equity Social ecology 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public HealthGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Violence PreventionCenters for Disease Control & PreventionAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryRhode Island HospitalProvidenceUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Glenna Tinney
    • 1
  • Shelly M. Wagers
    • 2
  • Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
    • 3
  1. 1.ConsultantAlexandriaUSA
  2. 2.College of Arts and Sciences - Society, Culture, and LanguageUniversity of South Florida - St. PetersburgSt. PetersburgUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA

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