Table of Contents:
Presidential Message | Book Review | Editorial
SPSMM Division 51 Election Slate
Special Feature on 9/11
Public Policy Office Research Grants
Psychology of Men and Masculinity
Nominations for Fellows |Special Focus Section: Conceptualizations of Masculinity
Measuring masculinity: Recent conceptualizations
Male Reference Group Identity Dependence
Recent Research in the Gender Role Strain Paradigm
Relating To Boys About Boys Relationships
Listserv |Mission Statement | Div. 51 Central Office
APA Convention Dates
Membership Application | Policy on Book Reviews
Web Site | Cookbook | | Governance
SPSMM Bulletin Deadlines: January 31, April 30, July 31, October 31
Corey Habben, Psy.D.
Welcome to our new newsletter, now available to you online! I have always been honored to be a part of a division that is home to so many wonderful men and women dedicated to psychology of men and masculinity. Regardless of who you are, we are all touched in some way by the psychology of men. Thank you for joining us in our pursuit of a greater understanding of men and masculinity. A few odds and ends as we start another new year:
From your mailbox to your desktop
If you have been a member of SPSMM for any period of time, you should have come to expect a newly delivered newsletter once every three months. For many, the newsletter has remained the primary form of connection between the individual member and the division. I know that I have grown very accustomed to receiving my SPSMM newsletter at home for almost ten years now. And yet, most of us probably spend much more of our reading time at our computer than we ever did ten years ago. In a move that is a reflection of our changing times, SPSMM is now delivering its quarterly newsletter virtually the moment it is completed via the web. Beyond the reality that online publishing is becoming the norm and will continue to become more common in our day-to-day lives, this change provides you with instant, always available access and spares the problems that arise from lost or delayed mailings, changed or incorrect addresses, and newsletters that can get buried in a pile on your desk. Print copies will still be available for mailing if, for whatever reason, you cannot access our newsletter online and the Psychology of Men and Masculinity journal will continue to arrive at your office or home in the mail. Nevertheless, I am excited to write to you on our first entirely online newsletter. If you have not done so already, be sure to bookmark our home page and check back for newer editions of our newsletter. From this point on, it will always be just one click away.
News from the Midwinter Meeting and Mens Retreat
For SPSMM, January means the midwinter conference and mens retreat. This years conference was held at the National Multicultural Summit III in Hollywood, CA. One of the highlights of each years conference is the yearly mens retreat. I have had many people ask me what is the mens retreat? and, to be honest, I had asked the same questions myself prior to last January having been unable to participate in previous years. If you ever pose this question to someone who participates, you will likely receive the same feedback: You should do it, youll really enjoy it, its a great experience, I hope I can do it again next year. For those who have never participated, the mens retreat is billed as an experiential workshop for men interested in a personal exploration of issues related to men and masculinity. It is an all-day group of anywhere from 10-20 men who gather together and talk about anything and everything in a supportive male group environment. Many of its members have been attending the group for nearly ten years; some flew in just so they could attend the group. For all who participated, thank you for being a part of it. I would like to join the chorus of voices encouraging others to participate. Like so many others had told me, it truly is a great experience and I definitely hope you will join us in doing it again next year.
The future of the division
It is hard to believe, but SPSMM is fast approaching its tenth anniversary of its birth as an APA division. I can recall joining APAs then-newest division for the psychology of men back in 1995 with excitement. As I look to the past with our division, I also look ahead to the future. This is a division I hope to grow old with for the next forty or fifty years. How will it evolve? What will it look like? I ask you to join me in looking ahead and consider our future. Take a quick read of our mission statement and you will see that we already have a solid foundation on which to build. It is now time to consider how to build on that foundation. There are new frontiers in the psychology of men yet to be explored, and I look very forward to our division leading the exploration. Look for me to talk about this in more detail in future columns.
Our past president, our future president?
One of SPSMMs founding fathers and first leaders, Ron Levant, is a candidate for APA President. Father is a very good word to use with Ron and SPSMM; he has there at the beginning, he has helped nurture SPSMM, and he has continued to provide a calming presence and leadership. The prospect of Ron providing that same leadership to our entire association is an exciting one indeed; if you have not done so already, remember to encourage your colleagues to vote for Ron for APA President.
As I mentioned, check back for our updated quarterly newsletter on the web.
As I also mentioned, I look forward to addressing some issues that touch mens
lives in future columns. In our next edition, I plan to talk about something
that has played a major role in shaping masculinity, in both good ways and bad,
and yet is overlooked in psychology. Until then, feel free to contact
me with your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Book Review by Ed Tejirian, Ph.D.
Between Fathers and Sons: Critical Incident Narratives in Mens Live
Robert J. Pellegrini, Ph.D. & Theodore R. Sarbin, Ph.D., Eds. New York: Haworth Clinical Practice Press, 2002.
In the first part of the 20th century, Freud remarked that he could not imagine anything more important to a child than a fathers protection. The narratives in this collection suggest that Freud was not far off the mark, although the men who spoke of their fathers did not express the need for protection so much as the desire for contact, closeness, approval, and love. And it is interesting that, for the most part, they felt that, one way or another, their fathers came through for them. The critical incidents in the title refer to those remembered, symbolic moments in their sons lives that appeared to crystallize for them how their fathers did that.
The writers of these narratives are a highly self-aware group of menfifteen out of the seventeen contributors are psychologists, as are editors Pellegrini (also one of the contributors) and Sarbin (who at the time of publication, was ninety years old.) Each editor has written a separate introductory chapter. In his, Sarbin places this collection firmly in the field of narrative psychology. Narrative psychology takes it as a given that each human life constitutes a story, that the events within that story are connected, and that this story and its interconnections are emotionally meaningful and have consequences for how a person lives and experiences the quality of his life. This method, Sarbin notes, is common to history as well as biography, and distinct from the paradigmatic method,i.e, hypothesis-testing, coding, and statistics that were developed in psychology to further the goal of prediction and control (in the face of the stubborn fact that individual behavior is neither surely predictable nor easily controlled.) This method, Sarbin points out, can lead to the counterintuitive (and demonstrably false) argument that parental variables have little, if any, effect on personality development.
Pellegrini, in his introductory chapter, suggests that the relative scarcity of research on mens emotional relationships to each other reflects both the gender role definitions that have discouraged male emotional expressiveness, as well as the homophobic suspicion of emotionality between men. He also sees it as part of the benign neglect accorded fathering in developmental psychology. This collection is intended as a corrective to this history of fear and neglect. The narrowness of the segment of the population that it represents is balanced by the sensitivity of the writing and the insights that its thoughtful and candid contributors provide. Most of the sons writing about their fathers are mature men, some already in their sixties, and this maturity allows, in some cases, for reflection on their relationships to their own sons. (In the case of two of the contributors, essays by their sons accompany those of their fathers, while one of the contributors writes about his relationship to his son rather than to his father.) The narratives are grouped in three categories: Identity Stories; Stories of Emotional Life; Stories of Self-Understanding. In practice, however, all three elements are present, explicitly or implicitly, in all the stories told here.
What is striking is the degree to which emotion saturates mens memories of their fathers, the extent to which every indication of a fathers interest in his son was held onto and burnished rather than diminished with the passage of time. It was also striking that a fathers worldly success was not focused on as a factor in a sons estimate of his father. In contrast, what did countand what was mentioned as something a son consciously emulated in his own lifewas a fathers working hard to take care of his family, even sometimes at considerable cost to himself and most of all, evidence of his love and concern. Nor did the death of a father mean the end of the sense of his sons connection to him. The memory of a fathers touch, a conversation, the sense of having been loved by him remains in a sons heart and is drawn upon for comfort and even guidance long afterwards. In one of the stories, a father who has died appears in his sons dreamthey are happy to see each other, they hug, and having done its work of remembrance, the dream ends.
Pellegrini, in his introduction, points to a recurrent theme in these narrativesthe father as ultimately unknowable, as a mystery. This is not the place to speculate on the reasons for this, but rather to note the words of Karl Scheibe, one of the books contributors who said of his father, I learned from him that one might love something without quite knowing what it is that is loved.
Words were often not the vehicle from which a son gleaned an understanding of his fathers love. Thus, a father who rarely expressed such feelings in words is so overcome with emotion when he tries to propose a toast to his son who has just been awarded his doctorate that he literally cannot not speak. And not surprisingly, adolescence was a time when a previously idealized father was disturbingly revealed as having feet of clay. But also not surprisingly, with the passage of time, this fallibility was integrated into a larger and generally positive picture.
Of the stories in this collection, the only one that fails to end on a less than positive note is one in which the rupture between son and father results from a divorce. Though the rupture is eventually repaired, the wounds are never entirely healed on either side.
There is, however, one other dissonant note in a collection that largely testifies to the value of the father-son bond. One of the contributors, Earnest Keen, muses that the existence of father-son traditions is disappearing in the current redefinition of gender roles in this culture. He suggests that some of these traditions belittled, subordinated, and insulted wives and daughters and adds, it is very difficult to retain any father-son traditions without eventually becoming a part of male reaction to feminism.(p.120) While confirming that these traditions are part of his identity, he sees them as increasingly not part of his sons identities. In contrast, however, it is notable that nowhere in the other contributions in this collection is there any suggestion that a bond between father and son constituted an alliance aimed at the disparagement or subordination of women. I think it would be a serious mistake to come to such a conclusion, and thereby add feminism to homophobia and traditional gender role restrictions as yet another factor hostile to mens emotional relationships to each other.
Between Fathers and Sons is a worthy addition to the mens studies literature. It would be usefulobviously in the long runto extend the scope of narrative research on this theme to other cultural settings. In addition, sexual orientation of the contributors is not mentioned, and the usual default assumption of heterosexual may or may not apply. A word of clarification might have been useful. But similar research with men who are identifiably gay would be a useful addition to both mens studies in general and gay studies in particular.
I am fully in agreement with the editors on the limitations of the paradigmatic method for the study of human relationships. This collection demonstrates the power of the narrative method to transcend those limitations. While my personal research preference has been to allow for face-to face-dialogues to supplement written narratives, I am nevertheless grateful for the rich, complex, and nuanced testimonies to the power and the enduring meaning of the father-son relationship that are found in this volume.
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Fred Rabinowitz, Ph.D.
For those that could not attend the Multicultural Summit in Hollywood in January, I will give you some of my perceptions of the highlights as I saw them. With the main focus of the event on diversity issues, SPSMM certainly was present and in position to facilitate dialogues of mens issues across ethnicity and sexual orientation. While those in Division 51 have encouraged inclusiveness in our group, it was apparent to me and those SPSMMers at the Summit that there are many mens voices that need to be a part of our divisions mission. Men of color and GLBT men have significant insight and frameworks to add to our perspectives on masculinity in our research, theory, and practice.
In a well attended, standing room only program co-led by Ron Levant, Bill Parham, Will Liu, and Gonzolo Bacigalupe, the boundaries of gender role conflict theory were widely expanded to include the struggle and strengths of men not considered to be a part of the mainstream cultural norms. It was powerful to hear several African American men on the open mike describe how they had to be tough, strong, polite, rebellious, and vigilant to preserve their dignity in the midst of both cultural barriers as well as very real dangers they faced in their everyday lives. Drawing on the wisdom of older African- American relatives and mentors and stories of their proud African heritage, many of these men transcended the obstacles that had been set before them. Our definitions of what it means to be male need to include these mens stories, coping mechanisms, and cognitions. Gay, bisexual, and transgendered men, who cant count on their cultural or ethnic heritage to support or sustain them, must find other ways to find the strength to have a positive and affirmative male identity.
It is powerful and humbling to come to grips with the ethnic and cultural overlays
that surround the mainstream cultures gender role conflict strain. To
have to emulate the Uberman manufactured by our cultures media,
who often is portrayed as Caucasian, heterosexual, physically sculptured, and
competitively driven is tough enough for those who are Caucasian and heterosexual
but is extremely disempowering to those who dont match up. While more
diverse male images are being promoted in the media, these men are often portrayed
in stereotyped roles that betray the real diversity that exists in real
men. A few of us at the conference caught up by the synergy of this program,
want to keep it alive by collaborating with men from Divisions 44 and 45 to
expand the meaning of masculinity and cross-fertilize the models and paradigms
that have been developed by research, theory and practice in each of our groups.
Open mikes and difficult dialogues at conferences, and collaborative research
and theorizing in our journals seem like the next important steps to take the
study of men and masculinity to the next level of relevance within APA and the
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SPSMM Division 51 Election Slate
Make sure you vote! Please read the statements by the candidates below before making your choices. You will be asked to choose one from each of the slates for President (Larry Beer or Fred Rabinowitz), Treasurer (Matt Englar-Carlson or Michele Harway), GLBT Member-at- Large (Armond Cerbone or Kurt DeBord), and Ethnic Minority Member-at-Large (Michael Mobley or Marty Wong)
LARRY BEER, ED.D. PRESIDENT STATEMENT
It is an honor to be asked to run for President of Division 51 of the American Psychological Association. This division is and has been my family within APA since its inception. My roles within our division have included newsletter committee, awards committee, cookbook creator and editor, and my current role as secretary.
Why should you vote for me? Prior to answering this question let me say that I have tremendous respect for Fred Rabinowitz who has also agreed to run for president and who I think will do a fine job if elected. But you have a choice, and this is why you might consider voting for me. I have the two qualities that I think our division needs in a president: One is a good sense of business, and the other is a strong appreciation of family.
As a business person I started a small group practice in 1989. In spite of these tough economic times for mental health practitioners, my business has grown steadily and now includes 20 clinicians. Presently, our division also is in a pretty difficult climate and is feeling a financial pinch. I believe we need to function more effectively as a business in order to grow and thrive. In order to do this we will need to first and foremost increase our membership. We know what a great division we have in terms of scholarship, programming and camaraderie. We need to invite others to be a part of what draws us to SPSMM. If elected, I will direct extra attention to membership issues since membership is the best source of both energy and funds for the division. I would see to it that our membership committee is composed of dedicated and well-connected individuals within APA who can increase our membership base in both number and diversity.
While increased membership will improve our revenues, we need to explore other potential sources for funds, with one possibility being our divisions cookbook. While putting this book together with so many of you, I became aware that certain publishers might have an interest in our book. This could have a strong potential upside for us in terms of both publicity and fundraising. As President, I would request that the Board pursue updating, improving and publishing the cookbook.
What has really drawn me to this division, though, is the sense of family I feel within it. The greatest meaning in my life comes from family. Within our divisional family I have been able to get to know and enjoy so many of you. While I would pursue the business aspects of our division aggressively, I would also insure that the intimacy we share with each other continues to grow. I have been able to keep the dual focus of business and personal connection within my group practice, and I think I can replicate that within our division. One of our divisions most cherished programs is the men's +dialogue we hold annually during Midwinter. We need to find opportunities to have a similar dialogue during APA's annual convention so that those who can't make it to Midwinter can enjoy this great experience. Further, we need to bring back respectful inter-gender dialogues and gay-straight dialogues during our convention in addition to the excellent programming we have every year. In closing, it is quite an honor to be asked to run for President of our division. Thank you for considering my candidacy.
FRED RABINOWITZ, PH.D. PRESIDENT STATEMENT
I am pleased and honored to have been nominated to run for the Presidency of Division 51 and to be running against and beside Larry Beer, a long time supporter and active member in our division who would represent the division well if elected. I also have been a longtime supporter of Division 51, having made it my APA division home. I have served SPSMM over the past six years as Membership Chair, Co-Chair of the Men and Depression Task Force, Program Chair 2002, Cluster Chair 2002, Psychology of Men and Masculinity Editorial Board Member, and SPSMM Bulletin Editor. I have co-written three books and numerous articles on psychotherapy and the new psychology of men, many with Sam Cochran. As an active researcher/clinician and involved member of the division, I believe I understand the issues that we face both internally and externally within APA as well as the meaning and importance of our divisions work to our culture and the world.
Internally, our division is a vibrant and exciting intellectual community that values new ideas and theories in conceptualizing mens issues, as well as the documenting of those ideas through quantitative and qualitative research, and clinical practice. As President I would continue to support these efforts and work to find more visible forums for our cutting edge insights, findings, and models of masculinity for the 21st century.
We are also a warm and supportive emotional community of scholars, clinicians, and students who share our own lives with each other in ways that few divisions do. I would like to continue to encourage our connections with each other by making sure there is always time dedicated at conventions, meetings, and retreats to deepening our emotional lives. In this realm I would like to see our division open its arms wider to our brothers and sisters in division 44 (GLBT) and division 45 (Ethnic Minority). If elected I would actively seek to insure that these individuals are included in our theorizing, research, and support networks. There are so many pieces to the masculinity puzzle still missing from our work and I believe these voices will add volume and breadth to our understanding of men and boys.
Externally, our division is still not quite understood by other psychologists within APA or the public at large. While our group was founded by Ron Levant and Gary Brooks as a pro-women, pro-diversity, and gay affirmative organization, those outside our division still wonder if we are not just a reactionary group of white males trying to maintain the status quo of male power and privilege. As President, I will be a spokesperson for our division within APA and the public at large about all the good work that we do to understand and help men and boys. While I am a social critic of our cultures unrealistic media portrayals of men, I am also aware that we will need to use the media to counter the stereotypes that abound. When appropriate, I will voice the holistic and diverse vision of masculinity that our division represents in public forums.
Finally, I trust, respect, and care about the individuals in this division. When faced with difficult decisions about budget, APA politics, and any other issues that arise, I will not hesitate to seek counsel from the membership to find creative, win-win solutions. If I have an explicit agenda as President, it is to diversify our membership base not only in numbers, but in active collaboration on projects, research, and vision. I will support all efforts to keep our division a vital, inclusive, and supportive home for our membership to pursue creative, scientific, and clinical work in the psychological field of boys, men, and masculinity.
MATT ENGLAR-CARLSON, PH.D. TREASURER
I am very honored and pleased to be nominated as a candidate for the Treasurer position of SPSMM. Within APA, I consider Division 51 to be my home and have greatly appreciated the support, information, and ideas that I get from other members of the division. This truly is a unique collection of men and women representing diverse backgrounds and perspectives, yet the professional discourse is refreshingly innovative and respectful. Based on my experiences within the division, I am highly motivated to look for ways in which I can meaningfully contribute to the division.
I see one of the challenges of the division is continuing to promote the ideas and emphasis of the division while working from a relatively small annual budget. The role of treasurer requires diligence, organization, and an ongoing commitment to accurately provide reliable information about the divisions finances and expenditures. Further, however, the treasurer can provide an outlook on where the division can go in the future depending on the resources that are available. If selected to this position, I commit to provide the time, energy, and dedication to meet the expectations of the position.
Besides monitoring the financial matters of the division, I am aware that the treasurer is a crucial player in the governance of the division, thus the treasurer has influence on the direction taken by the division over the next few years. One of more meaningful aspects of SPSMM for me has been the ongoing professional mentoring provided by members. I would support continuing efforts to attract new student and professional members into the division with the hope that with controlled growth the division can continue to mentor and support all members in the supportive manner that characterizes this division. Another area where I value the presence of SPSMM is the area of clinical training and education about men and masculinity. As an educator, I value the importance of working at both the macro and micro level to inform the public and mental health professionals about ways to understand men and effectively meet their clinical needs.
Briefly, my education includes Masters degrees at Stanford University (Health Psychology Education) and the Pennsylvania State University (Counselor Education) and a doctorate in counseling psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. I have worked as an elementary school counselor, was a visiting assistant professor in educational psychology at the University of Washington, and I am currently as assistance professor of counseling at California State University- Fullerton. I am also working as a post- doctoral resident at the Cal State Fullertons counseling center. Professionally, my scholarship is in the in area of child counseling, social class, and men and masculinity. I am an active member of SPSMM by presenting research, attending Mid-Winter meetings and the annual retreat, and serving as a program reviewer.
MICHELE HARWAY, PH.D., ABPP TREASURER
I am delighted to be asked to run again for the position of Division 51 Treasurer. I have enjoyed my first year as treasurer, feel comfortable now negotiating my way around an Excell spread sheet and have some confidence about working with the accounting people (through APA) who help us stay financially on course. If elected to serve a second term, I will continue to work closely with the board to find ways to make our division more financially stable and look forward to interacting with all members of the division.
ARMOND CERBONE, PH.D MEMBER-AT-LARGE, GLBT SLATE
Division 51s mission to illuminate and improve the lives of men is important to several initiatives and issues in APA. I mention two that have particular import to me and to which I can bring some experience. First, APA is developing international relationships with psychologists and mental health groups. Linking with other APA groups can position the Division to enrich a global discourse of what it means to be male and a man.
Increasingly, transgendered persons are asking APA to recognize the relevance of their issues. Dialogues of substance, informed by research and scholarship, between heterosexual and non-heterosexual psychologists on gender and sexual orientation will yield critical wisdom on the nature and expression of masculinity. 51 has much to contribute to discussion on these issues.
As well as being a charter member of 51, I believe other leadership experience in APA prepares me for this position in Division 51:
KURT A. DEBORD, PH.D. MEMBER-AT-LARGE GLBT SLATE
Im happy to be nominated, once again, to a position on the governing board of Division 51. My involvement with the division thus far has included working with the journal, contributing to the newsletter, participating on the APA program committee, and meeting fellow members at conferences. Although I do not see myself as exceptionally politically minded, I have enjoyed my involvement with the division and would gladly assume the responsibilities of a member-at-large (political and otherwise) if elected to the board. I see this position as being one of service. Given my belief in the work of the division, I think I could fulfill the duties of this service with enthusiasm, competence, and pleasure.
Briefly, my career path has been rewarding and straightforward. After completing my Ph.D. in counseling psychology at the University of Missouri, I began teaching psychology at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1995. I am now an associate professor there. I love teaching, but I also enjoy research. I have been actively involved in research on teaching interventions and on lesbian, gay, and bisexual psychotherapy for several years.
In my personal life, I feel quite fortunate. Living in mid-Missouri for a number of years has allowed me a pace that helps me keep my priorities in line. I have a wonderful partner of almost a dozen years and I have good friends who love to play. Thanks for your consideration of my nomination.
MICHAEL MOBLEY, PH.D. MEMBER-AT-LARGE ETHNIC MINORITY SLATE
I am honored to be nominated for the Minority Slate within Division 51. I strongly support and advocate the mission and purpose of the Division. Although, I have had not been directly active within SPSMM, I have served on the editorial board of the Psychology of Men & Masculinities. My interests and commitment in the area of mens issues have primarily focused on the intersection of cultural identities including racial & ethnic and sexual orientation among men. In particular, my teaching, training, and research has centered on issues related African American and gay men. The life experiences of men of color and gay men represent intriguing and challenging developmental, social, cultural, and political processes. Often times, an essential life goal centers on achieving inclusion and affirmation. As a member of these two distinct cultural groups, in my professional work I strive to maintain and develop a worldview that promotes inclusion and affirmation as a faculty member, researcher, and trainer. Such a philosophy represents the primary perspective I offer to the Division in assisting to achieve its goals.
In regards to my professional background and training, I am currently an assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology. My primary areas of interest include Multicultural Counseling, Training, Competencies; Self-Empowerment Theory of Achievement among African American Adolescents, Perfectionism, and cultural identity development models related to ethnic, racial, and gay & lesbian individuals. I have taught at MU since 1997. I received my Ph.D. from Penn State University and completed internship at the University of Marylands Counseling Center. My professional organizational experiences have included current Division 17, Counseling Psychology Newsletter Editor, and past Program Committee Reviewer, as well as Treasurer and Member-at-Large for Division 17 Section on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Awareness. In the past 6 years I have also valued my membership within Divisions 44 and 45. Finally, I also serve on editorial board for The Counseling Psychologist and the Journal of Career Development.
During discussions with SPSMM members at the 2003 National Multicultural Conference and Summit, I learned more about the direction and focus of the Division. If elected to serve the Division in this capacity I would work diligently to assist in developing effective strategies and programs to increase representation of diversity. As a strong advocate of collaboration and consultation, I believe SPSMM and its leadership have made great strides in forging bridges with other Divisions. I applaud the accomplishments of SPSMM as growing influence within APA and psychology in general.
MARTY WONG, PH.D. MEMBER-AT-LARGE ETHNIC MINORITY SLATE
It is important to me that Division 51 grow and prosper for the sake of APA,
for the sake of the country, and just as importantly for the sake of men. It
is glaringly obvious when looking at the membership that minorities do not see
themselves as benefiting from the activities of Division 51. I am not
sure why that is the case but I would like to be a part of a council that dedicates
itself to a growing membership that has among its representatives a larger proportion
of minority members.
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Special Feature on 9/11
THE FIREFIGHTER, THE GHOST AND THE PSYCHOLOGIST:
REFLECTIONS ON THE 9/11 FIREHOUSE PROJECT
Warren Spielberg Ph.D., New School University
(please ask permission of the author to use: Wspielberg@aol.com)
This paper describes my year as a consulting psychologist attached to a Brooklyn Firehouse which had lost seven men in the WTC terrorist attack. It also briefly describes the Firehouse Project an FDNY city -wide initiative, which I developed in collaboration with the FDNY.
The day after 9/11 I went to volunteer in a number of firehouses around my Brooklyn neighborhood trying to offer assistance to many of the men who were living through the shock of their lives. Besides the immediate losses of their brothers they faced many other demands. Many have felt a continuing debt to the widows and families of the fallen. This responsibility is filled with confusion and ambivalence on both sides. Recent reports by outside consultant have suggested that many firefighters could have been saved by better communications, better command decisions and by better training and discipline. Many firefighters have felt scapegoated by these reports. The inability to achieve full retrieval of the bodies of the men lost at the WTC has been like a knife in the heart of many of the men. This is the first time that the FDNY has had not retrieved bodies. Only three remains out of seven were found from the firehouse where I work.
Many firefighters are frightened of a future terrorist incident. Many are urged by their families to quit. Many have already done so. The stresses on families of firefighters have been enormous - overtime, depression, and attendance at 20- 30 funerals and memorials. The enormous losses, many of senior members have also caused transfers, relocations, and retirements. In a normal year, 40 retirements are put in for per month. This past year, pension incentives and family pressures to leave have pushed that number to 40 per week. New members must be integrated into the life of the firehouse. This can be a challenging and trying experience.
Since 9/11/02 there have been new stresses and challenges. The second year of disaster recovery has seen even greater need for treatment. The losses have sunk in, family members have had their own reactions and those men who put off treatment until the anniversary have all increased the numbers of individuals seeking help. Burnout issues have surfaced and many men are thinking about early retirement. Mass transfers and promotions have threatened the stability of many houses.
Despite these considerable stresses, it must be emphasized that the vast majority of men are coping well. Since 9/11, they continue to report to the firehouse, put on gear and go to emergencies, fires and carbon dioxide leaks the last occurring on my own street. During the last 12 months response times have actually improved. But the work itself has never been an issue for most firefighters. In fact, having gone on many runs with them this past year, I have observed that this is when they are at their best. Away from the tension of the firehouse and the ghosts of the dead, doing something they love, their competence on display, they arrive at some measure of peace.
The Firehouse Project
The first few weeks at Firehouses around the city after 9/11 resembled a cacophony of rolling wakes and memorials. Widows and their families sought refuge. Former firefighters appeared at their old houses to offer solace and support. Grieving members of the public appeared en masse with food and tributes. Celebrities also made their appearances. Arnold Schwarzennegger came to one of my houses in Brooklyn and handed out cigars. As time wore on the visits of tourists (many of whom would weep uncontrollably) became an added burden. However, the early support of the neighborhood was also critical in giving solace. As one member said to me in mid-September its like the FDNY has a broken heart and the public is trying to push both halves back together again.
As the Fall progressed, I found my volunteer time centered on one particular house off the beaten path in Brooklyn. Firefighters as a group, for a variety of reasons, do not typically utilize psychotherapy services in the way New York City civilians do. However, early on I felt that these men would need assistance in coping with their trauma, grief and rage. So why not then bring Mohammed to the mountain and assign a psychologist to every firehouse that suffered losses. Through a fortuitous series of events I was able to help develop such a project with Dr. Kerry Kelly, the Chief Medical Officer of the FDNY and with Malachi Corrigan, Director of the Counseling Services Unit. The Firehouse Project is only one of the many mental health initiatives that the FDNY has launched this year.
In December, Dr. Laura Barbanel of Brooklyn College and I, in conjunction with the Fire Department, coordinated a small pilot project with six firehouses four in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn. The goals of the Firehouse project were to bring didactic, clinical and referral services directly to firefighters. In March, the FDNY expanded the program to include nearly every house (63) which had lost members.
On January 3, 2002, escorted by three peer counselors, I had lunch with approximately 30 men in the kitchen of the firehouse where I had been assigned. They listened politely as I discussed issues of trauma, grief, depression and alcoholism but asked no questions. Later that day I met with the officers. They too sat in stony silence as I inquired about the men lost and the circumstances of their demise. Afterward, my mood plummeted. As I was leaving, I asked one of the Captains how I did. With a twinkle is his eye he said, Ah, you sucked. Somehow this made me feel better.
I returned a few days later, but took a different route. I asked for a tour of the house. I received some lessons on the apparatus and the roles and rationales of firefighting. As with new patients, I began an extended detailed inquiry. As best I could, I began to get a picture of the social hierarchy, the stated and unspoken rules of the firehouse, and the actual demands of the job. I am still learning.
My role at the Firehouse has always been murky, even though my tasks have always seemed clear. To enter such a system, one must be a participant/observer with a capital P. My initial goal has always been to be accepted, and this largely meant down playing my being a psychologist, and increasing my exposure as the person I am.
During the first month there, I determined that there were many levels of emotional disturbance and functioning among the 40 men. The engine (a fire truck that also serves as an EMS responder) and the ladder (a fire apparatus that has the extended ladder for rescue) companies had both arrived at the WTC before the collapse. The engine and all its men had survived, due to a fortuitous command decision. The Ladder and all seven in it however perished. All the Engine men who had survived the collapse of the building were deeply affected. They were living in an altered psychic state. They experienced continual flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, hyper vigilance and almost daily nightmares. None were receiving treatment at the time of my entry into the system. But by the end of the month, I was able to get four out of the five into extended leave and into counseling. These four eventually returned to active duty.
The remainder of many of the firefighters were living through various forms of shock, guilt, and impacted grief (Shatan, 1973). As consistent with the Oklahoma research (Nixon, Schorr, Boudreaux, & Vincent, 1999), the younger men were in the worst shape. Most had never lost anyone with whom they were close. Many were single or not used to seeking social support. All the men had just completed attending 20-30 ceremonies for the dead. If they missed the ceremony of a friend, due to work schedules, they often went to another memorial, even if this replacement funeral was of a stranger.
During this first month, I was reminded of the Holocaust memoir, Ruchele by Rose Farkas (1988). The author who had survived the death camps reported the following event in one of the liberation camps directly after the war. After entering the camp, she entered a room where children were shivering and crying softly. The same scene repeated in the next room. I saw a little girl holding the hand of a small boy who was lying on the floor. When I approached, I could see that the child was dead. I told the girl to let go of him. I cant, she said crying. My mommy told me never to let go of his hand.
In January the mens grip on the hands of their comrades was unyielding. The grip of one of the officers of the ladder company was the firmest. He had been off for the day, and missed the WTC collapse. Now he was devoting all his spare time to helping the seven widows and their families. He insisted on making memorial arrangements and would not allow the members of the Engine Company to help out. In fact, the usual friendly competition between the engine and ladder companies descended into an internecine battle that threatened the cohesiveness of this dual house.
Robert Lifton (1979) has brilliantly explicated the psychodynamics of survivors. I have found Lifton distinctions between static and animated guilt to be a useful one. It also corresponds to Volkans (1983) notions of complicated mourning. When I first arrived at the Firehouse, many were numbed, stuck in rage and grappling with negative identifications of cowardice and helplessness. These static and frozen states coincided with a deep resistance to acknowledging their feelings or sharing them with others. Some were extremely close to the fallen senior men who had raised them as firefighters, and were in total identification with their deadness (Smith, 1975).
During one of the groups I conducted in February, I asked the men whether they had been having sex or were doing anything else pleasurable. Few indicated yes, although some were fearful about indicating they had done so. One officer who was close to the men who had died, stated that he felt so driven now, he couldnt even allow himself to laugh. After a few chuckles he felt bad. I asked him, How long did he allow himself to laugh? Not long, he said, grimacing and chuckling at the same time.
The difficulties in mourning were compounded by the absence of a body. As one officer said It is important to know that these bodies are not lying around in the garbage somewhere. The absence of bodies has also been unfortunate because it has contributed to the illusion that the men are not really dead. It has intensified the guilt of survivors (its our job to find them, and our fault if we dont) and prolonged their grief reactions. Finally, the absence of a body for burial suggests in fantasy, that the fallen may never have been here in the first place. Their sudden disintegration is linked with a fall into nothingness that is often unbearable for those left behind.
In groups I conducted in March and April I asked them to write down three things they missed about the fallen. They responded anonymously which allowed me to bring up these issues publicly to the whole group. One wrote, Bob was my best friend. I transferred to this house to work with him. Now he is gone. I talk with his family everyday, I cant stop thinking about him, and his kids I miss him terribly.
These groups took on an eerie and tense silence. The jokes were gone and time stood still. Since 9/11, the men had been living out two lives in double consciousness (Herman, 1992). In these groups, these lives came together as the dead joined us at the table, to become enlivened by the mens re-animated memories. Preeminent among them were memories of the house leader John. Even though he was off from duty, the morning of 9/11, he had jumped in the truck anyway. John was larger than life barreling into the house, teaching the men putting his arms around new probies (new firefighters) and correcting their errors, and basically connecting with everyone.
Johns presence had been felt by many in the house in recent months. One probie who did not even know him, reported that, He felt his presence he corrected my mistakes, one in the basement moving the water bottles to the right place. Andy, a close friend of Johns, reported looking into his locker everyday like he was inside - and feeling his love. I just couldnt move away from his locker. John was the life of the house. I have been struck by reports of other sightings of ghosts which were of similar characters, those who were the leaders and energizing forces of their house. I felt their emergence as ghosts during this time, on the heels of very painful series of groups, augured a movement to animation that set the stage for reparations and renewal.
In June after the closing of the site, group participation increased. Last month, Ed, a big burly man tearfully shared a memory of John. Two weeks before 9/11 we were up all night cooking and talking about our lives. I never felt closer to someone. In the morning we were tired but happy. John looked at me and said, You have to do these things you enjoy when you can you never know when your time is up. Ed had brought up the most material about the fallen, particularly John in this session. He had been one of the most silent all year. At the end of the group he spontaneously announced that his wife was pregnant. This was new to the others and they congratulated him.
Fulfilling the Debt
As the mourning process deepened over the winter, the men began to work on the building of a memorial wall. The memorial wall was an elaborate construction that featured pictures, uniforms and personal letters of the families. These materials were encased in two mahogany marble settings that looked as if it belonged in a luxurious hotel.
At the end of one group in April, I asked the following question? How is it possible to take away anything positive from the experience they had undergone? One young firefighter retorted, I thought you would tell us. I replied that I wished I could but that it wasnt possible. Another replied that, He thought that perhaps the enormous sacrifices made were required by God in order to save the thousands who lived. Another replied that having gone to all the funerals and hearing the eulogies about the many fine men, He felt inspired him to lead a better life.
The image of a debt is useful here in that its fulfillment can become a harbinger to increased maturity and mental health. Our society is short on paying its debts. Individuals often tend to look at sacrifice and even commitments as neurotic or self-defeating. Yet it is precisely these kinds of acts that assuage survivor guilt. The FDNY has a tradition of paying its debts; through memorials, though actions and through remembrance.
The Firehouse Project has grown to 63 houses. Each clinician, I believe has needed to develop their own unique way of being with the firefighters. The work has demanded that we be ourselves well. These men judge individuals by their character. They are uncomfortable with therapeutic neutrality or pretense, but wish to know those with whom they work.
The absence of a clear therapeutic stance in a protected clinical setting has created considerable counter-anxiety and doubt for clinicians. Normally patients came to our offices voluntarily and pay us for services. In this project we have come to their work/homes and tried to entice groups of men who do not know us or ask us to come, to open up to us.
It is not surprising then, that one of the major counter transferential reactions we have dealt with, is a constant fear that we are not helpful and not wanted. Interestingly these reactions have continued in psychologists even after the very positive feedback this project has yielded. The lack of therapeutic structure has led to another source of anxiety. In this kind of setting the individual personality of the therapist is more blatantly on display than in the private office. This means that our foibles, mistakes and even our personal problems are more openly rife for discussion than in the normal clinical setting. Perfectionists have a short life in the firehouse. At the same time, the total personality of the clinician can also be a positive instrument. As Clara Thompson (1988) has written, the center area of the patient can only be touched by a center reaction of the analyst.
My decision not be in role prevented a possible impasse to the work. Clinicians often judge or evaluate the mental health of others. Firefighters are fearful and resentful of being judged in this manner. Most of us often forget Sullivans (1953) dictum that we are all more human than otherwise. Recently, an officer reminded me of my initial difficult meeting. They only started to talk when you asked them if they were sleeping well. Only one raised his hand and then you told them that poor sleep was to be expected. And then everyone raised their hands. You made them feel normal again, he said.
The last counter-transference theme I have noticed are the extreme, sometimes exaggerated set of positive and complicated feelings that clinicians have had towards firefighters. This attitude may tend to deter the kind of in depth and straightforward inquiry that is required for this work and is not always in their interest. Like other members of the culture we have been swept up in a pantheon of heroic idealization of firefighters. However, communities that emphasize a mythology of heroes over the tragedy itself, may isolate those who must bear its suffering.
In a previous paper on male shame and heroism (Spielberg, 1994), I wrote that most men face a normative shame based difficulty in their attempt to integrate their emotional needs, feelings and higher qualities. In adulthood they must integrate these needs and feelings through the construction of a heroic identity that stresses an interest in giving that measure of psychological and spiritual nurturance for which they once longed. I have found many firefighters to be heroic in the way I describe above. In contrast to stereotypes, I have found that many of the men are able to self disclose, interested in learning about their psychological selves and ready to help and share their feelings with those they trust. I have been struck by both their openness, and with the depth they have faced their emotional pain.
Because most firefighters have attempted to shield their families from the horrors of 9/11, their dreams have been very useful in understanding their trauma and attempts at recovery. Their dream life has served as a container where they could express their anguish and grief. In general, I have observed two types of dreams. The first category involves dreams in which the dreamer places himself among the dead. One firefighter who lost his best friend at the site reported the following dream: I am at a school yard. There are buildings falling down and smoke and things burning like at the WTC. I am on the bottom of a lot of dead bodies, and my friend is there. A live fireman comes and tries to dig me out. He says to me you dont look so good and I realize I am dead too.
A second category of dreams involves those in which the firefighter is trying actively to rescue others or to stop the WTC disaster or prevent some other calamity. For example I am near my firehouse, and a terrorist starts shooting a machine gun at the guys. I try to stop him. Then I am at the WTC site right before the collapse. I am trying to communicate with the guys inside to get them out. My radio does not work. I am in a panic.
At this point I have mostly questions about these different types of dreamers and their dream states. What was their connections with the dead? What was their pre- trauma functioning and character like? Why is one group more involved in problem solving and prevention? Is the dead identified group trying to work their way out from the land of the dead and if so why in this way? As I collect more dreams I believe I will be in a better position to answer these questions.
Debts Owed Debts Paid
A month ago I returned from work one night to find my street closed off to traffic by nearly 10 EMS and FDNY vehicles. I ran down the block to my house to find my babysitter and my two kids sitting in the darkness. An underground electrical fire had blacked out the block. As I resurfaced outside my house I saw the many men of the Battalion I had worked with all year. Hey Doc, Jim said, You live here? I nodded and asked what was going on. Theres no fire now just a CO leak. They then checked my house for carbon dioxide gases. The rest of the night I watched them work in 100-degree heat. The Chief, the kind of man you would like to have in an emergency directed events and the men from the Battalion played their roles perfectly. People on the street were evacuated from their homes, as they went house by house checking for noxious gases. . An hour later they rescued a pet left in one of the houses. The crowd outside cheered. The men looked happy.
The losses of 9/11 remind us of our common links to one another. Our personal and cultural tendencies toward narcissism, the isolation of our communities, and our refusal to interweave death and mourning into our daily rituals moves us to forget this. The sacrifices of the firefighter community brings us back to this core truth. Our lives are built around small and large connections to one another. Unfortunately this interdependence is often out of awareness. We must therefore, consciously strive to remember the debt to the survivors. We must continue to provide assistance to those who are just beginning to seek treatment or other support services. We must honor the dead by making things right for the living. If we do not, the sacrifices of the fallen will be for naught.
Buber, M. (1966). The knowledge of man. New York: Harper Torchbook.
Balint, M. (1953). Primary love and psychoanalytic techniques. New York: Liverlight.
Herman, J. (1992). Trauma and recovery. New York: Basic Books.
Kardiner, A. (1953). Traumatic Neurosis of War in American Handbook of Psychiatry, vol. 1. S. Arrieti (Ed.). pp 245-257 New York: Basic Books.
Lifton, R. (1979). The broken connection. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Lifton, R. (1969). Death in life. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Nixon, S., Boudreaux, A., & Vincent, R. (1999). Perceived effects and recovery in Oklahoma City firefighters. Oklahoma State Medical Review, Winter.
North, C., Nixon, S. & Sharrat, S. (1999). Psychiatric disorders among survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing. Journal of the American Medical Association, 282, 8.
Smith, D., Christianson, E., Vincent, R., & Hahn, E. (2000). Population effects of the bombing of Oklahoma City. Oklahoma State Medical Association, Vol.92 No 4.
Smith, J. (1971). Identificatory styles in depression and grief, International Journal of Psychoanalysis , 52, PP 259-266.
Shatan, H. (1973). The grief of soldiers: Vietnam combat veterans self help movement, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 43, PP 640-653.
Sullivan, H.S. (1953). The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: Norton.
Spielberg, W. (1993). Why men must be heroic. Journal of Mens Studies , 2 , 2, PP 173-188.
Thompson, C. (1988). The role of the analysts personality in therapy, In Essential papers on countertransference. B. Wolstein (Ed.). New York: NYU Press.
Volkan, V. (1981). Linking objects and linking phenomena. New York: International Universities Press.
Wolstein, B. (1988). The pluralism of perspectives on countertransference,
In B. Wolstein (Ed.). Essential papers on counter transference. New York:
International Universities Press.
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Public Policy Office Research Grants
APA's Public Policy Office is pleased to inform you of six research grant announcements recently issued by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We would greatly appreciate your assistance in circulating to your membership the following information about these grant opportunities in violence-related injury prevention, acute care, rehabilitation, and disability prevention:
Dissertation Awards for Doctoral Candidates for Violence-Related Injury Prevention
Research in Minority Communities. [Announcement #03036, Application DUE DATE:
May 8, 2003].
Traumatic Injury Biomechanics Research [Announcement Number 03028, Application DUE DATE April 8, 2003.] http://www.cdc.gov/OD/pgo/funding/03028.htm
Acute Care, Rehabilitation, and Disability Prevention Research [Announcement #03023, Application DUE DATE: April 8, 2003.] http://www.cdc.gov/OD/pgo/funding/03023.htm
Dissemination Research of Effective Interventions to Prevent Unintentional
Injuries [Announcement Number 03033, Application DUE DATE April 8, 2003.]
New Investigator Training Awards for Unintentional Injury, Violence Related Injury, Acute Care, Disability, and Rehabilitation-Related Research [Announcement Number 03027, Application DUE DATE April 8, 2003.] http://www.cdc.gov/OD/pgo/funding/03027.htm
Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research, Intimate Partner Violence and
Sexual Violence [Announcement Number 03024, Application DUE DATE: April 8, 2003.]
For further information about these CDC announcements, please contact Tom Vogelsonger at 770-488-4823 or email@example.com. We would also encourage your members to check the CDC Web site periodically for new announcements: http://www.cdc.gov/OD/pgo/funding/grantmain.htm#VIO.
We, in APA's Public Policy Office, will continue to keep you informed of federal funding notices that might be of special interest to your members by way of these e-mail messages and our Web site: http://www.apa.org/ppo/funding/homepage.html.
If you have any questions or are in need of additional information, please feel free to contact me at (202) 336-6062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much thanks for your assistance!
Ellen G. Garrison, Ph.D.
Director of Public Interest Policy
Public Policy Office
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
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Psychology of Men and Masculinity
Psychology of Men and Masculinity is among the worlds first scholarly publications devoted to the dissemination of research, theory, and clinical scholarship that advance the discipline of the psychology of men and masculinity. This discipline is defined broadly as the study of how mens psychology is influenced and shaped by gender, and by the process of masculinization, in both its socially constructed and biological forms. We welcome scholarship that advances our understanding of mens psychology, across the life span, across racial and ethnic groups, and across time.
Examples of relevant topics include, but are not limited to, the processes and consequences of male gender socialization, including its impact on mens health, behavior, interpersonal relationships, emotional development, violence, and psychological well-being; assessment and measurement of the masculine gender role; gender role strain, stress, and conflict; masculinity ideology; fathering; mens utilization of psychological services; conceptualization and assessment of interventions addressing mens understanding of masculinity; sexuality and sexual orientation; biological aspects of male development; and the victimization of male children and adults.
Submitted manuscripts must be written in the style outlined in the 1994 Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (fourth edition). Psychology of Men and Masculinity will accept both regular length submissions (7,500 words) and brief reports (2,500 words). Submitted manuscripts must not have been previously published and must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere.
Four copies of the manuscript should be mailed to: David Lisak, PhD, Editor, Psychology of Men and Masculinity, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125-3393.
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Nominations for Fellows
Nominations for Fellow Status in divisions 51, APA are presently being accepted. If you are aware of a member who has been exemplary in the areas of Research or Service for the Psychology of Males and Masculinity (or if you yourself fit the mold), please forward names by September 1 to Marty Wong, Ph.D.; Fellows Chair; 15 Elizabeth St.; Charleston, SC 29403 (email: email@example.com).
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Special Focus Section: Conceptualizations of masculinity: Underlying empirical assumptions
Editor for Special Focus Section: Andrew Smiler.
The question exactly what is masculinity? is an issue that the readers of this newsletter encounter on a regular basis. For clinicians, this question helps identify potential problem areas regarding diagnosis (e.g., alexithymia) and treatment (e.g., therapeutic reliance on verbal ability) and for researchers, the question determines how we measure masculinity (i.e., choice of instrument) and the generation of hypotheses (e.g., improper socialization leads to poor outcomes). Our underlying models limit our answers, specifying what should be examined and what should be ignored, as well as what is normal (or ideal) and what is problematic. As with any psychological sub-discipline, a variety of perspectives are available. In this special section, we focus on empirical theory (and measures) because of psychologys reliance on this scientific database. Once published, a psychological measure of masculinity comes to represent masculinity, yet the measure has a dual relationship with the abstract entity of masculinity. On one level, the measure serves as a method of quantifying masculinity and produces a masculinity score. As such, the measure is a reduced version of the abstract concept of masculinity. On another level, the measure indicates how masculinity, in general, is related to some other measure (e.g., condom use). Here, the measure represents abstract masculinity in its entirety, and so we discuss the relationship between masculinity and, for example, sexuality. This distinction is important because it highlights the act of generalizing from a specific measure to a broader construct. While we are often careful not to overgeneralize the results of one study for reasons related to sampling and statistical power (among other issues), we rarely address the limits and assumptions that are part of our instrumentation and methodology. Consequently, we may either underestimate or overestimate the strength of our findings when our studies are required to either overcome or capitalize upon the assumptions inherent in the measure.
The assumptions upon which empirical theory and measures rest also provide an index of the field because they highlight key issues. In this special focus section, we start with a broad view of psychologys empirical masculinity theories over the last thirty years, highlighting a variety of assumptions across five different movements. Three current approaches are then reviewed, including discussion of what is problematic. Jay Wade begins with an overview of Reference Group Identity Dependence theory, a perspective that draws from psychodynamic theory and reference group theory and positions the overly rigid adherence to a reference group as problematic. Katherine Richmond and Ron Levant discuss the ideology and strain perspective, identifying contradictory demands of the male role as problematic. Finally, Judy Chu introduces relational theory and suggests that (some) behaviors typically identified as problematic may reflect successful adaptation to situational demands.
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Measuring masculinity: Recent conceptualizations
Introduction and prior history
From the early part of the 20th century through the 1960s, gender was primarily described by the psychodynamically based Sex Role theory which claimed that men and women actively affirmed their gender/sex through the acquisition of traits, attitudes, and behaviors that were considered appropriate for their biological sex (Pleck, 1987) . For men, high test scores indicated being active, rational, strong and community oriented (Morawski, 1985; Terman & Miles, 1936). This conceptualization located gender typical behavior as deriving from ones biological sex and gave little attention to immediate environment.
Sex role theory also positioned masculine and feminine as polar opposites, an assumption that was codified by psychological tests where a single scale was used for scoring (e.g., Terman & Miles 1936 MF test, Hathaway & McKinleys 1951 MMPI). Consequently, being insufficiently masculine (i.e., hypomasculine) was suggestive of sexual inversion (i.e., homosexuality) and considered problematic. After World War II, being overly masculine (i.e., hypermasculine) became associated with aggressiveness, conformity to illegitimate authority, and juvenile delinquency (Pleck, 1987), and so hypermasculinity was also identified as problematic.
The feminist critique of psychology in the 1960s and 1970s helped displace the sex role theory. Perhaps the most damning empirical article was Anne Constantinople's (1973) literature review in which she found partial support for the bipolarity assumption, along with support for independent factors of masculinity and femininity. Her review did not support the predicted association between low sex role scores and poor mental health.
Androgyny movement: Separating masculinity and femininity
Androgyny theories became prominent during the 1970s (Bem, 1974; Spence & Helmreich, 1978) and maintained several elements of Sex Role theory. In particular, the ideal form had not changed men were still expected to be rational, strong, etc. (Morawski, 1985) . Masculinity (and femininity) continued to reflect a set of individually possessed attributes (omitting attitudes and behaviors) that presumably existed regardless of immediate context. Low levels of masculinity, when combined with low levels of femininity, were potentially problematic (i.e., gender undifferentiated), but high levels of masculinity in combination with high levels of femininity (i.e., androgyny) were not. Breaking from the psychodynamic conception, androgyny theories positioned masculinity and femininity as distinct, unrelated entities that any individual could possess in any quantity. These entities no longer represented a logical extension of biological sex into personality, but rather were socially constructed through random historical assignment of characteristics (e.g., independence) to the sexes. Measurement, primarily through the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI; Bem, 1974) and the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ; Spence & Helmreich, 1978), focused on the possession of particular traits and produced distinct scores for masculinity and femininity.
Ideology movement: Underlying tenets
Contemporaneously, (Brannon, 1976) published his analysis of masculinity, identifying four underlying tenets (No sissy stuff, Big wheel, Sturdy Oak, Give em Hell) of American masculinity. This description moved masculinity from being a random collection of attributes to an organized belief system or ideology explained through a compact set of rules. Brannons masculine form is consistent with the Male Sex Role Theory and Androgyny theories, but he recognized the limitations of this form and so does not position it as a desirable ideal. Consequently, being masculine could be problematic, and being hypomasculine remained problematic. Others identified hypermasculinity as problematic, particularly in its relation to sexism (Villemez & Touhey, 1977) . Breaking with other approaches, masculinity was partially opposed to femininity. Measurement focused on assessing mens support or adherence to the underlying principles (e.g., Brannon & Juni, 1985), and these measures of masculine ideology (Thompson & Pleck, 1995) have been very popular within the masculinity literature.
Brannon (1976) developed his conception of masculinity by drawing on the social psychological work on role. Although he had described the contextually sensitive nature of roles (e.g., house guest), Brannon claimed that sex roles were by far the most complex, demanding and all-involving role[s] that members of our culture must ever learn to play (Brannon, 1976, p. 7). Despite its importance in role theory, but consistent with prior gender theory, Brannon omitted context. Thus, masculinity was learned from external sources but once learned, it resided within individual men they were (or were not) masculine.
Problematic movement: Strain, stress and conflict
Drawing on this description of masculinity, Pleck (1981) developed Gender Role Strain Theory to examine the strain associated with attempting to conform to this role. The 1980s also saw the publication of Gender Role Conflict and Gender Role Stress theories (Eisler & Skidmore, 1987; O'Neil, Helms, Gable, David, & Wrightsman, 1986) . Maintaining masculinity as a role that was structured around the dominant stereotype and a small set of underlying tenets (or derived factors), these authors identified this stereotype as the standard but not necessarily the ideal. More importantly, they problematized the general enactment of masculinity as potentially stressful. Positioning masculinity as a constant, the amount of stress that an individual experienced was allowed to vary as a function of context.
Challenging movement: Deconstructing the dominant stereotype
In the early 1990s, a number of historical and sociological works were published that documented shifts in the dominant image of American masculinity. Prominent images of the genteel patriarch and heroic artisan, who did not compete with each other, were replaced with the ever- and all- competitive marketplace man (Kimmel, 1996, 1997) . Shifts from a communal to an individualistic orientation, as well as changes in male emotional style from passionate (i.e., Victorian) to unexpressive, impersonal, but friendly have also been documented (Rotundo, 1993; Stearns, 1994) . In addition to demonstrating the sociohistorical construction of masculinity, these works explicitly highlighted multiple methods of being masculine, or masculinities. This idea has been readily embraced a psycinfo search reveals that the first published title (journal, chapter or book) with this term appeared in 1987, and is the only appearance from 1985-1989, but 58 masculinities titles were published 1995-1999. The possibility that there are multiple forms of masculinity stands in sharp contrast to the earlier theories and explicitly questions the identification of any single form as ideal or problematic (Connell, 1995) .
Combining movements: Revisions and updates
Responding to the concerns raised by critics (primarily social constructionists) and the idea of multiple masculinities, Pleck (1995) updated his theory, arguing that the possession of a masculine ideology is an important factor in the experience of Gender Role Strain. Beyond this addition, his theory remains much the same, positioning masculinity as an all encompassing role that men enact regardless of immediate context. This version of his theory allows multiple masculinities across ethnic groups, as demonstrated by significant results in a multiple regression that assessed subscription to the dominant ideology (Pleck, Sonenstein, & Ku, 1993) . An idealized form remains, but is no longer identical for all groups. The updated theory also shifts the problem from the content of masculinity to its performance (i.e., overadherence to the ideology). One implication of this shift is that men are no longer emotionally inexpressive, but rather that they do not allow themselves an opportunity to express their emotions. Wades (1998; this issue) Reference Group Identity Dependence theory is similar in that it explicitly allows multiple masculinities and identifies rigid conformity to stereotypical masculinity as problematic.
Conceptual changes during the last thirty years have moved masculinity and femininity from polar opposites, to completely distinct entities, to partially opposed. Identification of an ideal form has lessened as the idea of multiple masculine forms has increased. Perhaps more important are shifts in the problem of masculinity. The androgyny theories suggested that being gender undifferentiated (i.e., hypomasculine and hypofeminine) was problematic and ideology measures tended to position hypermasculinity as problematic. The 1980s gave rise to theories that explicitly identified enactment of the dominant male role as stressful, and more recent theories have identified overadherence to the male role as problematic.
Since the 1970s, theories have positioned masculinity as something that men learn and internalize from their culture, and so masculinity has resided within individual men. These acontextual descriptions of masculinity contrast with other models of gender. Eagly (1987) described gender typical behavior as a function of well known stereotypes and individual differences in conformity to expectations. Accordingly, individuals who are highly conforming tend to produce more stereotypical gender displays. Deauxs (Deaux & LaFrance, 1998; Deaux & Major, 1987) socialization model includes the gender beliefs (i.e., ideology) of both actor and perceiver, context cues, and the interpretation of behavior (by self and other) to explain gender typical behavior. In this description, behavior is the result of self, other and context.
Although researchers have acknowledged developmental issues and drawn from developmental research, measures have not addressed the development of masculinity or longitudinal changes in an individuals masculinity. Developmentalists report that a period of high gender salience and stable gender scores occurs in early adolescence (Galambos, Almeida, & Petersen, 1990; Liben & Bigler, 2002) and that mens femininity scores typically increase after age 30 (e.g., Hyde, Krajnik, & Skuldt-Niederberger, 1991; Hyde & Phillis, 1979; Terman & Miles, 1936) . Findings of this nature are not typically addressed in this literature, although the Gender Role Journey (O'Neil, Egan, Owen, & McBride, 1993) may be useful for assessing shifts in adults perceptions of gender.
Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155-162.
Brannon, R. (1976). The male sex role: Our culture's blueprint for manhood and what it's done for us lately. In D. David & R. Brannon (Eds.), The forty-nine percent majority: The male sex role (pp. 1-48). Reading, MA, USA: Addison-Wesley.
Connell, J. P. (1995). Masculinities. Berkeley, CA, USA: University of California Press.
Constantinople, A. (1973). Masculinity-femininity: An exception to a famous dictum? Psychological Bulletin, 80, 389-407.
Deaux, K., & LaFrance, M. (1998). Gender. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 788-827). Boston, MA, USA: McGraw-Hill.
Deaux, K., & Major, B. (1987). Putting gender into context: An interactive model of gender-related behavior. Psychological Review, 94, 369-389.
Eisler, R. M., & Skidmore, J. R. (1987). Masculine gender role stress: Scale development and component factors in the appraisal of stressful situations. Behavior Modification, 11, 123-136.
Galambos, N. L., Almeida, D. M., & Petersen, A. C. (1990). Masculinity, femininity, and sex role attitudes in early adolescence: Exploring gender intensification. Child Development, 61, 1905-1914.
Hyde, J. S., Krajnik, M., & Skuldt-Niederberger, K. (1991). Androgyny across the life span: A replication and longitudinal follow-up. Developmental Psychology, 27, 516-519.
Hyde, J. S., & Phillis, D. E. (1979). Androgyny across the life span. Developmental Psychology, 15, 334-336.
Kimmel, M. (1996). Manhood in America: A cultural history. NY, NY, USA: The Free Press.
Kimmel, M. S. (1997). Masculinity as homophobia: Fear, shame and silence in the construction of gender identity. In M. M. Gergen & S. N. Davis (Eds.), Toward a new psychology of gender (pp. 223-242). NY, NY, USA: Routledge.
Liben, L. S., & Bigler, R. S. (2002). The developmental course of gender differentiation . Monographs of the society for research in child development, Serial #269.
Morawski, J. G. (1985). The measurement of masculinity and femininity: Engendering categorical realities. Journal of Personality, 53, 196-223.
O'Neil, J. M., Egan, J., Owen, S. V., & McBride, V. (1993). The gender role journey measure: Scale development and psychometric evaluation. Sex Roles, 28, 167-185.
O'Neil, J. M., Helms, B. J., Gable, R. K., David, L., & Wrightsman, L. S. (1986). Gender-role conflict scale: College men's fear of femininity. Sex Roles, 14, 335-350.
Pleck, J. H. (1987). The theory of male sex-role identity: Its rise and fall, 1936 to the present. In H. Brod (Ed.), The making of masculinities: The new men's studies (pp. 21-38). Boston, MA, USA: Allen & Unwin.
Pleck, J. H., Sonenstein, F. L., & Ku, L. C. (1993). Attitudes toward male roles: A discriminant validity analysis. Sex Roles, 30, 481-501.
Rotundo, E. A. (1993). American manhood: Transformations in masculinity from the revolution to the modern era. NY, NY, USA: Basic Books.
Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. L. (1978). Masculinity and femininity: Their psychological dimensions, correlates and antecedents. Austin, TX, USA: University of Texas Press.
Stearns, P. N. (1994). American cool: Constructing a twentieth-century emotional style. New York, NY, USA: New York University Press.
Terman, L. M., & Miles, C. C. (1936). Sex and personality: Studies in masculinity and femininity. NY, NY, USA: McGraw-Hill.
Thompson, E. H., Jr., & Pleck, J. H. (1995). Masculinity ideologies: A review of research instrumentation on men and masculinities. In R. F. Levant & W. S. Pollack (Eds.), A new psychology of men (pp. 129-163). NY, NY, USA: Basic Books.
Villemez, W. J., & Touhey, J. C. (1977). A measure of individual differences in sex stereotyping and sex discrimination: The 'Macho' scale. Psychological Reports, 41, 411-415.
Wade, J. C. (1998). Male reference group identity dependence: A theory of male identity. The Counseling Psychologist, 26, 349-383.
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Relating To Boys About Boys Relationships
Judy Y. Chu
Recent discourse on boys
Much of recent discourse on boys has focused on ways in which boys socialization towards culturally prescribed conventions of masculinity can be detrimental to boys development. For instance, clinicians working with adolescent boys propose that pressures for boys to accommodate to images of masculinity that emphasize physical toughness, emotional stoicism, projected self-sufficiency, and heterosexual dominance over women can diminish boys sensitivities to peoples feelings, including their own (Kindlon & Thompson, 1999), and undermine boys abilities to achieve intimacy in their relationships (Pollack, 1998). Similarly, empirical research studies have shown that adolescent boys who internalize conventional norms of masculinity tend to exhibit more problem behaviors (Pleck, Sonenstein, & Ku, 1994) and have lower levels of self-esteem (Chu, Porche, & Tolman, in press). In short, this literature suggests that boys gender socialization may stifle boys emotional and relational development and negatively impact boys behaviors and psychological adjustment, despite social advantages of emulating masculine norms and ideals.
While this work on boys has raised important questions about the course and purpose of boys development, there has been a tendency to conceptualize boys gender socialization as a linear model of cause-and-effect wherein cultural messages about masculinity are introduced and directly impact boys attitudes and behaviors. In focusing on social aspects, such as the content of the messages boys receive and the sources of pressure in boys lives to enact these messages, this discourse tends to objectify boys by depicting them as passive recipients of culture or even victims of their gender socialization. Seldom considered are psychological aspects such as processes by which boys actively make meaning of cultural messages and social pressures that they encounter, resist as well as internalize these messages and pressures, and thereby mediate the effects of their gender socialization on their developmental outcomes. Rarely included in the conversation are boys own perspectives on how they experience their gender socialization and how these experiences shape the ways they see themselves, engage in their relationships, and perceive their sociocultural contexts.
A relational framework and approach
While the importance of relationships is widely acknowledged in developmental and psychological theory (e.g., Erikson, 1968; Piaget, 1954; Vygotsky, 1978), a relational framework underscores the centrality of relationships in peoples lives and emphasizes that human development occurs not in isolation with the option of having relationships but primarily through and within relationships with other people (e.g., Gilligan, 1996; Jordan, 1992; Miller, 1994). That is, a relational framework starts from the premise that peoples lives and experiences are inextricably embedded within the contexts of their relationships and sociocultural environments. Accordingly, a relational framing of boys gender socialization emphasizes that it is often through and within relationships (e.g., with family and peers) that masculine norms are introduced, reinforced, incorporated, and perpetuated in ways that become personally meaningful and directly consequential to boys. Likewise, a relational approach to psychological inquiry conceptualizes the study of peoples experiences as a practice of relationships and highlights the fact that the nature of data collected depends in part on qualities of the researcher-participant relationship.
Inspired by feminist studies that contextualized girls psychological and social development within their interpersonal relationships and sociocultural environments, my study adopted a relational framework to examine how boys -- as active participants in their gender socialization -- negotiate their senses of self, behaviors, and styles of engaging others in light of cultural constructions of masculinity that manifest in their interpersonal relationships and social interactions. Against a backdrop of literature suggesting that boys gender socialization results in their difficulties recognizing and expressing a full range of thoughts and feelings and developing close relationships with others, I was interested to learn from boys own perspectives how their experiences of gender socialization may compromise or lead them to shield these relational capabilities. I was also interested in how boys may preserve their relational capabilities by resisting and/or challenging cultural messages and social pressures associated with their gender socialization.
With the aim to learn about boys experiences from boys own perspectives, my study also applied a relational, voice-centered method that focused on soliciting the boys accounts in their own words and on their own terms (Brown & Gilligan, 1990, 1991). Using qualitative ethnographic observations and semi-structured clinical interviews, I worked closely with boys during adolescence and early childhood in a multi-site study that spanned four years. Given that the boys willingness to share their experiences with me would be determined by the dynamics of our interactions and also by their perceptions of me, I centered my research methods on developing comfortable and trusting relationships with the boys.
Similar to the populations upon which much of recent discourse on boys is based, the majority of participants in my studies are White middle-class boys living in suburban communities. However, by framing boys development as relational process and focusing on how boys experience and respond to their gender socialization, my study revealed a breadth and depth to what they are capable of knowing and doing in their relationships that are under-represented in the literature on boys. Far from being emotionally deficient and relationally impaired, the adolescent boys in my study showed themselves to be 1) keenly aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and desires, 2) sensitive and responsive to the dynamics of their interpersonal relationships, and 3) attuned to the realities of their social and cultural contexts (Chu, 1998, 1999). Contrary to discourse suggesting that boys gender socialization renders them incapable of and/or uninterested in expressing and sharing themselves with others, there is evidence in boys interview narratives that the fundamental capacity and desire to establish close, mutual relationships, which boys clearly demonstrate in infancy (Stern, 1985; Trevarthan, 1979; Tronick, 1989) and begin to cover up in early childhood (Chu, 2000), carry forth into adolescence.
While boys do not appear to lose their relational capabilities as a result of their gender socialization (at least not by adolescence), they do learn to be savvy about how they express themselves and strategic about how they engage in their relationships, such that their relational capabilities become increasingly difficult to detect. As one boy explained, he has found that When you put yourself out there, you not only make yourself vulnerable but -- more often than not -- other people will take advantage of your vulnerability. Within this reality, a boys decision to be careful about how and to whom he reveals himself could be considered a wise and strategic move. Thus, rather than being a question of ability or interest, boys lower levels of self-disclosure and intimacy in relationships may partly reflect how they are actively reading, taking in, and responding to their culture.
Moreover, the boys interview narratives indicated that their experiences of gender socialization have been less a process of learning to conform to particular images of masculinity, which many of the boys felt were abstract and to some extent obsolete, and more a process of learning to be more astute and flexible in their relationships and social interactions. In general, the adolescent boys were not as concerned with appearing masculine per se as they were with figuring out how to engage others effectively and fit in socially while remaining true to themselves. Masculine norms and ideals obviously influence boys perceptions of what is acceptable and desirable behavior. However, rather than presenting images toward which boys feel directly pressured to strive, such constructions of masculinity seem to infiltrate boys lives by subtly yet pervasively shaping and constraining the ways they see themselves, the ways other people see them, and subsequently their self-expression, social behaviors, and relational styles.
Implications for research and practice
As we understand that boys gender socialization may have psychological costs and relational consequences, an initial instinct is to focus on changing the cultural messages and social processes that appear to pose a threat to boys well being. However, as we realize that there will always be obstacles and challenges that boys (and girls) inevitably encounter as part of their normative development, it is also important to focus on fostering individual boys consciousness, awareness, and critical reflection so that -- as active participants in their socialization and development -- they can make more informed decisions about who they want to be and how they want to act. The idea is not necessarily to change boys but to understand how they decide to be the ways they are and do the things they do, to respect their decisions while helping them to explore alternate possibilities, and to bolster the resources from which they already draw strength to resistant and resilient when social pressures threaten to compromise their personal integrity. Above all, we must start with boys perspectives. For it is by considering where boys feel they are coming from and what boys feel they are up against that we can best learn how to support boys development in ways that account for their experiences, are relevant to their lives.
Brown, L. M., & Gilligan, C. (1990, August, 1990). Listening for self and relational voice: A responsive/resisting reader's guide. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA.
Brown, L. M., & Gilligan, C. (1991). Listening for voice in narratives of relationship. In M. J. P. Mark B. Tappan (Ed.), Narrative and storytelling: Implications for understanding moral development. New directions for child development, No. 54. (pp. 43-62): Jossey-Bass Inc, Publishers, San Francisco, CA, US.
Chu, J. Y. (1998). Relational strengths in adolescent boys. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Conference, San Francisco.
Chu, J. Y. (1999). Reconsidering adolescent boys' behaviors using qualitative methods. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Conference, Montreal, Canada.
Chu, J. Y. (2000). Learning what boys know: An observational and interview study with six four year-old boys. Unpublished Dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Chu, J. Y., Porche, M. V., & Tolman, D. L. (in press). The Adolescent Masculinity Ideology in Relationships Scale: Development and validation of a new measure for boys. Men and Masculinities.
Erikson, E. (1968). Life cycle. In D. L. Sills (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social sciences (Vol. 9). New York: Crowell, Collier.
Kindlon, D., & Thompson, M. (1999). Raising Cain: Protecting the emotional life of boys. New York: The Ballantine Publishing Group.
Piaget, J. (1954). The construction of reality in the child. New York: Basic Books.
Pleck, J. H., Sonenstein, F. L., & Ku, L. C. (1994). Problem behaviors and masculinity ideology in adolescent males. In R. D. Ketterlinus & M. E. Lamb (Eds.), Adolescent problem behaviors: Issues and research (pp. 165-186). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Pollack, W. S. (1998). Real boys: Rescuing our sons from the myths of boyhood. New York: Random House.
Stern, D. N. (1985). The interpersonal world of the infant: A view from psychoanalysis and developmental psychology. London: Karnac.
Trevarthan, C. B. (1979). Communication and cooperation in early infancy: A description of primary intersubjectivity. In M. Bullowa (Ed.), Before speech: The beginnings of communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tronick, E. (1989). Emotions and emotional communication in infants. American Psychologist, 44(2), 112-119.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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Male Reference Group Identity Dependence
Male reference group identity dependence theory (Wade, 1998) is a theory of male identity that was developed to address the question of why men vary in their gender role attitudes and behaviors and their experience of stress and conflict with regard to the male role. By combining reference group theory with ego identity theory, I developed the theory of male reference group identity dependence to provide a possible causal explanation.
Male reference group identity dependence is defined as the extent to which a male is dependent on a male reference group for his gender role self-concept. A male reference group is an internal representation of males like oneself and/or male peers with whom one identifies. It may serve as a frame of reference for the individual and develops from internalizing male role norms and prescriptions that are associated with significant male others with whom the individual has developed identifications. As such, the reference group may serve as a source of ones gender role self-concept. The gender role self-concept is a gender schema and represents ones self-concept with regard to gender roles, and includes ones gender-related attitudes, attributes, and behaviors. The reference group for a males gender role self-concept may include males in the environment, males who are admired, males who are rewarding to the individual, males whom an individual perceives as being rewarded by others, and/or male role models.
According to male reference group identity dependence theory, ones gender role attitudes, standards, and attributes develop within a cultural context, and the cultural context may differ among individuals. The theory does not specify or define the cultural context, but proposes that a males gender role attitudes, etc. will to some degree be dependent or not dependent on the male reference group. Originally, the male reference group is the cultural purveyor, and through psychological relatedness one internalizes and makes ones own the gender role attitudes, etc. of the male reference group. As the theory elucidates and focuses on psychological relatedness for all males regardless of the characteristics of the male reference group or cultural context, it also brings attention to the male reference group as the cultural component of the gender role self-concept. Both psychological relatedness and reference group selection may have different psychological consequences for males of different races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, religious affiliations, ages, etc.
Generally, the theory argues that males will vary in the extent to which they feel psychological relatedness to other males; and that this, along with differences in male reference groups, underlies differences in masculinities. There are three hypothesized male reference group identity statuses that are characterized by differences in feelings of psychological relatedness to other males. The No Reference Group status is characterized by a lack of psychological relatedness to other males; the Reference Group Dependent status by feelings of psychological relatedness to some males and not others; and the Reference Group Nondependent status by feelings of psychological relatedness to all males. These qualitative differences in feelings of psychological relatedness have implications for the gender role self-concept and the quality of ones gender role experiences.
For the No Reference Group status, there is confusion about oneself as male, not in terms of core gender identity and biological sex characteristics, but in terms of how males are supposed to act the sociocultural and personality aspects of being male, because there is no image of maleness or group of males that the individual feels similar to or with whom he identifies. Ego identity is undifferentiated or unintegrated. Likewise, the gender role self-concept is relatively undefined or fragmented. There is confusion, alienation, insecurity, and anxiety associated with gender role experiences.
For the Reference Group Dependent status, there is a sense of connection, identification, and commonality with an image or group of males perceived as similar to oneself while not so with males perceived as dissimilar to oneself. There is an in-group/out-group, like me/not like me distinction related to the male reference group. Ego identity is conformist. Likewise, the gender role self-concept is based in conforming to the perceived norms of the male reference group. There is a rigid adherence to gender roles, stereotyped attitudes, and limited or restricted gender role experiences and behaviors.
For the Reference Group Nondependent status, there is a sense of connection, identification, and commonality with all males. Although there may be an image of maleness or group of males the individual feels he is like or most similar to, there is no prepotent male reference group and there is an appreciation of differences among males. Ego identity is integrated. Likewise, the gender role self-concept is integrated and internally defined. The individual is able to be relatively flexible, autonomous, pluralistic, and unlimited in their gender role attitudes, attributes, and behaviors.
Based on the theory, the Reference Group Identity Dependence Scale (RGIDS; Wade & Gelso, 1998) was developed to assess psychological relatedness to other males. Research thus far has produced some interesting findings in terms of how each status may manifest in men behaviorally, affectively, and cognitively, which have implications for counseling and psychotherapy with men (see Wade, 2001; Wade & Brittan-Powell, 2001; Wade & Brittan-Powell, 2000).
Reference Group Dependent
In the development of a male identity, it is normal to internalize the male reference group to provide a self-definition of masculinity. In that the predominant masculinity in America is traditional, one would expect a reference group dependent identity, which is conformist in nature, to internalize the predominant masculinity ideology. Research has found this status to be related to endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology, non-endorsement of nontraditional masculinity ideology, gender role conflict, and sexual harassment proclivities. Research has found other psychosocial correlates of this status: social anxiety, anxiety/depression symptomatology, a foreclosed ego identity, an achieved ego identity, social identity as an important aspect of identity, feelings of social connectedness, and in White college men lack of adaptation to racial pluralism and negative attitudes toward race and gender equity. Research has also found the older the male, the less dependent on a male reference group for his gender role self-concept.
No Reference Group
There are some men who dont feel they are similar to other males. They dont identify with the predominant image of masculinity in their environment, or they feel conflicted about what it means to be characteristically male. The images of masculinity go against what they feel about themselves as a man. This can also take the form of having a sense of what it is to be a man, but not feeling like others in ones peer group. This status has been found to be related to viewing oneself as not possessing masculine traits, endorsement of nontraditional masculinity ideology, restrictive emotionality, and not having sexual harassment proclivities. Psychosocial correlates of this status include social anxiety, anxiety/depression symptomatology, low self-esteem, a diffused ego identity, collective identity not an important aspect of identity, and lacking a feeling of social connectedness.
Reference Group Nondependent
Some men, usually but not always through a developmental process, come to the point where they are not limited by societal or cultural prescriptions of masculinity. They are relatively free to express themselves in ways that feel true to who they are as a man. Their manhood is not threatened by difference by being different or by males who are different from them.
Research has shown this male identity status to be related to non-endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology, endorsement of nontraditional masculinity ideology, lack of gender role conflict, viewing oneself as possessing masculine traits, viewing oneself as possessing feminine traits, and not having sexual harassment proclivities. Psychosocial correlates of this status include not having a foreclosed ego identity, personal identity as an important aspect of identity, feelings of social connectedness, a universal-diverse orientation, and in White college men positive adaptation to racial pluralism and positive attitudes toward race and gender equity. Research has also found that the older the male, the more he was able to appreciate diversity among males, and that being gay or bisexual was related to not feeling similar to all males.
My research has only examined to a small degree age, racial, and sexual orientation similarities and differences. More research is needed to better understand how male identity, in terms of psychological relatedness to other males, relates to masculinity constructs and psychosocial functioning among men of differing sociocultural contexts and group identities. However, the research thus far indicates the male reference group identity dependence construct does have utility for understanding differences among men in how they deal with and experience male gender roles. In essence, the theory states that there will be confusion, conformity, or relative freedom with regard to mens adherence to a cultures prescription of how men are supposed to act, feel, and behave. Additionally, male reference group identity dependence theory provides another perspective by which we can examine the psychology of men and masculinity, and in conjunction with current theories of masculinity ideology and gender role conflict and stress. As a theory of male identity, it augments current conceptualizations concerning men and masculinity by focusing on a males feelings of psychological relatedness to other males.
Wade, J. C. (2001). Professional mens attitudes toward race and gender equity. The Journal of Mens Studies, 10(1), 73-88.
Wade, J. C., & Brittan-Powell, C. S. (2001). Mens attitudes toward race and gender equity: The importance of masculinity ideology, gender-related traits, and reference group identity dependence. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 2(1), 42-50.
Wade, J. C., & Brittan-Powell, C. S. (2000). Male reference group identity dependence: Support for construct validity. Sex Roles, 43(5/6), 323-340.
Wade, J.C. (1998). Male reference group identity dependence: A theory of male identity. The Counseling Psychologist, 26, 349-383.
Wade, J.C. & Gelso, C.J. (1998). Reference Group Identity Dependence Scale: A measure of male identity. The Counseling Psychologist, 26, 384-412.
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Recent Research in the Gender Role Strain Paradigm
Ronald F. Levant
Within the past twenty years, the new psychology of men has developed new ways of understanding and conceptualizing masculinity. Prior to this, gender research was framed by the Gender Role Identity Paradigm, a trait perspective, based on an essentialistic understanding of gender roles, which interpreted observed sex differences as attributable to inherent biologically-based psychological processes (Wood & Eagly, 2002). As observed by Pleck (1981), the trait perspective promotes stereotypical conceptions of gender roles. To better account for observed differences, Pleck (1981) examined gender within a contextual framework and introduced the Gender Role Strain Paradigm. By relying on a normative perspective, masculinity was viewed not as an intra-psychic trait but as a socially constructed entity that was imbedded in a particular society gender role power hierarchy. From this perspective, in most societies, traditional gender role ideology serves to reinforce patriarchy by the value it places on stereotypical masculine roles.
Plecks (1981) introduction of the gender role strain paradigm has stimulated considerable research (Levant & Pollack, 1995). The aim of this article is to review some of the current literature related to the new psychology of men. Several key concepts related to the gender role strain paradigm will be discussed, including masculinity ideology and three varieties of male gender role strain: discrepancy strain, dysfunction-strain, and trauma strain. Finally, implications for assessment and treatment will be discussed.
Masculinity ideology is the core construct in the Gender Role Strain Paradigm. This construct refers to an individual's internalization of cultural belief systems regarding the male role (Levant, 1996; Thompson & Pleck, 1995). Cultural belief systems reflect prevailing gender ideologies and are thought to inform socialization practices (Levant, 1996). Thus, gender ideology influences parents, teachers and peers, who in turn, socialize children according to prevailing gender ideologies (Levant, 1996). Unlike the earlier Gender Role Identity Paradigm, which assumed that men had inherent needs to develop sex-appropriate gender traits, the strain paradigm suggests that no single standard for masculinity exists because attitudes toward the male role vary according to historical, social, political, and psychological contexts (Brod, 1987). Indeed, this view contrasts with the trait perspective by asserting that gender roles are formed by the dominant ideology.
The gender role strain paradigm suggests that gender is an integral part of any social groups system of power relations. Traditional gender roles serve to uphold patriarchal traditions because they reflect a gender-based power structure which privileges males. As a result of the feminist movement in the United States, however, new gender ideologies emerged. Both men and women now experience pressure to behave in ways that conflict with traditional gender roles (Levant, 1994). The Gender Strain Role Paradigm explores ways in which these new pressures impact individual psychological well being as well as relational expectations between men and women.
Assessment of Masculinity Ideology
Although there are many masculinity ideologies, Pleck (1995) noted that there exists a common constellation of standards and expectations associated with the male role. Referred to as traditional masculinity ideology, this construct reflects the dominant view of the male role prior to the deconstruction of gender that occurred in the 1970s (Levant, 1996). To assess traditional masculinity ideology, Levant and Fischer (1998) developed the Male Role Norms Inventory (MRNI), which reflects seven theoretically derived dimensions of masculinity ideology: Avoidance of Femininity, Fear and Hatred of Homosexuals, Self-Reliance, Aggression, Achievement/Status, Attitudes Toward Sex, Restrictive Emotionality, and Non-Traditional Attitudes. The MRNI is a 57-item instrument consisting of normative statements to which subjects indicate their degree of agreement/disagreement on 7-point Likert-type scales. Levant and Fischer (1995, 1998) reported findings that supported the discriminant and convergent validity of the MRNI.
Empirical support for the social constructionist perspective comes from various studies using the MRNI, which found that masculinity ideology does vary in theoretical meaningful ways, suggesting that gender roles are influenced by social context. Among U.S. college students, several specific variables have been associated with higher degrees of endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology. These variables include being male, being younger, being single, expecting to complete less education, having greater church participation, being sexually active, being African American (as compared to white), and not living in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, or West (as compared to the South) (Levant & Majors, 1995; Levant, Majors & Kelly, 1998; Pleck, Sonenstein, & Ku, 1994; Thompson & Pleck, 1986). Furthermore, Levant and Majors (1995) found that among African-American and European-American men and women, African-American men endorsed the most traditional masculinity followed by European-American men, African-American women, and European women, respectively. In a follow-up study, Levant and Majors (1997) found that geographic residency was shown to moderate the effect of race on masculinity ideology, which highlights subculture variations (e.g., metropolitan vs. rural) within groups defined by race.
In a recent set of cross-cultural studies, nationality was shown to have a larger effect size than sex in the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology (Levant, Wu, & Fischer, 1996; Wu, Levant, & Sellers, 2001; Levant, Cuthbert, Richmond, Sellers, Matveev, Mitina, Sokolovsky, & Heesacker, 2003). In a sample of Chinese and US college students, both Chinese men and women were more likely to endorse traditional masculinity ideology than their American counterparts (Levant, Wu, & Fischer, 1996; Wu, Levant, & Sellers, 2001). Additionally, there were fewer differences in the endorsement of traditional masculinity between Chinese men and women than between US men and women, which suggests that feminism has not influenced social norms in mainland China to the same degree as in the US
Between Russian and US college students, Russian male and female respondents endorsed traditional masculinity ideology to a higher degree than US male and female respondents (Levant, et. al, 2003). Moreover, Russian and US women endorsed a less traditional perspective of masculinity ideology for men; however, this was most profound between US men and women (Levant, et. Al, 2003). Given the various masculinities shown to emerge within these cultures, the empirical support for a social constructionist perspective seems fairly well established.
Clinical application of the gender role strain paradigm has focused on three constructs associated with the gender role strain: dysfunction strain, discrepancy strain, and trauma strain. Many normative masculine behaviors (e.g., the emphasis on emotional constriction, aggression, and nonrelational sexuality) are psychologically dysfunctional and promote unhealthy behavior (Good, Robertson, ONeil, Fitzgerald, Stevens, Debord, & Bartels, 1995; Heppner, 1995; Levant & Brooks, 1997). Men who adopt these roles are at risk for a type of gender role strain known as dysfunction strain (Levant, 1996; Pleck, 1995). Yet, men who deviate from these norms are also at risk, given the shame that is associated with not meeting the expectations of manhood (Krugman, 1995; Mahalik, 2000; Pleck, 1981), which may lead to discrepancy strain (Levant, 1996; Pleck, 1995). Levant (1996) suggests that the male role socialization process is inherently traumatic and may cause trauma strain, which may be even more severe among men whose experiences of the male socialization process are particularly harsh (e.g., professional athletes, men of color, gay and bisexual men, war veterans, etc.).
As researchers continue to demonstrate that masculinity ideology is influenced by social context and is subject to change, implications for clinical interventions begin to emerge. The gender role strain paradigm and the three types of gender role strain can be applied in clinical work with men and adolescent boys, and has most recently been used to address such issues as interpersonal family violence, fatherhood, and adolescent delinquency (Jakupcak, Lisak, & Roemer, 2002; Richmond & Levant, 2003; Silverstein, Auerbach, & Levant, 2002; Pleck, Sonenstein, & Ku, 1993). Additionally, Levant (1994) notes that the gender role strain paradigm can be used to address the crisis of connection between men and women (Levant, 1994, p. 2). As US women continue to redefine their own roles, new pressures exist for men to act in ways inconsistent with traditional notions of masculinity. The gender role strain paradigm, when applied to the postmodern couple, allows couples to resolve relationship impasses (Levant & Silverstein, 2001).
In order to create an ideological shift, Silverstein, Auerbach, & Levant (2002) point to the broad social changes that must occur in order for a reconstruction of traditional masculinity (p. 361). The new psychology of men has opened new areas for researchers and clinicians to explore and consider ways in which the gender socialization process contributes and maintains psychological and interpersonal distress. Twenty years after the introduction of the gender role strain paradigm, there remains a need to continue to support applied research in this area. Through psycho-education, clinicians are providing men with the necessary skills to navigate within the context of traditional gender socialization; however, society continues to reinforce and encourage traditional expressions of masculinity. The new psychology of men hopes to aid in the broad social changes that must occur for men to communicate nontraditional expression of masculinity in a supportive environment.
Brod, H. (1987). The making of the masculinities: The new mens studies. Boston: Unwin Hyman.
Good, G. E., Robertson, J. M., ONeil, J. M., Fitzgerald, L. F., Stevens, M., DeBord, K.
A., Bartels, K. M. & Braverman, D. G. (1995). Male gender role conflict: Psychometric issues and relations to psychological distress. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 42(1) 3-10.
Heppner, P. P. (1995). On gender role conflict in men-future directions and implications
For counseling: Comment on Good et al. (1995) and Cournoyer and Mahalik (1995). Journal of Counseling Psychology, 42(1) 20-23.
Jakupcak, M., Lisak, D., & Roemer, L. (2002). The role of masculinity ideology and masculine gender role stress in mens perpetration of relationship violence. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 3 97-106.
Krugman, S. (1995). Male development and the transformation of shame. In R. F. Levant & W. S. Pollack (Eds.) A new psychology of men. New York: Basic Books.
Levant, R. (1996). The new psychology of men. Professional Psychology, 27, 259-265.
Levant, R., & Brooks, G., (eds.) (1997). Men and sex: New psychological perspectives. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Levant, R. F., Cuthbert, A., Richmond, K., Sellers, A., Matveev, A., Mitina, O.,
Sokolovsky, M., Heesacker, M. (2003). Masculinity ideology among Russian and US young men and women amd its relationship to unhealthy lifestyle habits among young Russian men. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 4 26-36.
Levant, R. F., & Fischer, J. (1995). [The construct validity of the Male Role Norms Inventory]. Unpublished raw data.
Levant, R. F. & Fischer, J. (1998). The Male Role Norms Inventory. In C. M. Davis, W.H.
Yarber, R. Bauserman, G. Schreer, & S. L. Davis (Eds.), Sexuality-related measures: A compendium (2nd. Ed., pp. 469-472). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Levant, R., & Majors, R. (1997). An investigation into variations in the construction of the male gender role among young African-American and European-American women and men. Journal of Gender, Culture and Health, 2, 33-43.
Levant, R., Majors, R., & Kelley, M. (1998). Masculinity ideology among young
African-American and European-American women and men in different regions of the United States. Cultural Diversity and Mental Health, 4, 227-236.
Levant, R., & Pollack, W., (eds.) (1995). A new psychology of men. New York: Basic.
Levant, R., & Silverstein, L. (2001). Integrating gender and family systems theories: The both/and approach to treating a postmodern couple. Lusterman, D., McDaniel, S., & Philpot, C. (eds). Casebook for integrating family therapy (pp. 245-252). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
Levant, R. F., Wu., R., & Fischer, J. (1996). Masculinity ideology: A comparison between U. S. and Chinese young men and women. Journal of Gender, Culture and Health, 1(3), 207-220.
Mahalik, J. R. (2000). A theory of conformity to masculine norms.
Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
Pleck, J. H. (1981). The myth of masculinity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Pleck, J. H. (1995). The gender role strain paradigm: An update. In R. F. Levant & W. S.
Pollack (Eds.) A new psychology of men. New York: Basic Books.
Pleck, J.H., Sonenstein, F.L., and Ku, L.C. (1993). Masculinity ideology and its correlates. In S. Oskamp & M. Constanza (Eds.), Gender Issues in Contemporary Society (pp. 85 - 110). Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications.
Pleck, J. H., Sonenstein, F. L., & Ku, L. C. (1994). Attitudes toward male roles: A discriminant validity analysis. Sex Roles, 30, 481-501.
Richmond, K. & Levant, R. ( 2003). The clinical application of the Gender Role Strain
Paradigm: Group treatment for adolescent boys. In Session: Journal of Clinical Psychology. (In press)
Silverstein, L., Auerbach, C. F., & Levant, R. F. (2002). Contemporary fathers reconstructing masculinity clinical implications of gender role strain. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33 361-369.
Thompson, E. H., & Pleck, J. H. (1986). The structure of male norms. American Behavioral Scientists, 29 531-543.
Thompson, E. H. & Pleck, J. H. (1995). Masculinity ideology: A review of research instrumentation on men and masculinities. In R. F. Levant & W. S. Pollack (Eds.) A new psychology of men. New York: Basic Books.
Wood, W. & Eagly, A. H. (2002). A cross-cultural analysis of the behavior of women and men: Implications for the origins of sex differences. Psychological Bulletin, 128(5) 699-727.
Wu, R., Levant, R. F., & Sellers, A. (2001) The influence of sex and social development on masculinity ideology of Chinese undergraduate students. Psychological Science (published by the Chinese Psychological Society), 24, 365-366.
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Participate in SPSMM-L, the listserv for SPSMM members. It is a place to share current psychology of men and masculinity news, as well as updates regarding organizational aspects of SPSMM. If you have access to the Internet, you can subscribe to SPSMM-L at no cost. Send your request to firstname.lastname@example.orgMichael E. Addis, PhD.
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SPSMM Mission Statement
The Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity (SPSMM) promotes the critical study of how gender shapes and constricts mens lives, and is committed to an enhancement of mens capacity to experience their full human potential. SPSMM endeavors to erode constraining definitions of masculinity which historically have inhibited mens development, their capacity to form meaningful relationships, and have contributed to the oppression of other people. SPSMM acknowledges its historical debt to feminist-inspired scholarship on gender, and commits itself to the support of groups such as women, gays, lesbians and peoples of color that have been uniquely oppressed by the gender/class/race system. SPSMM vigorously contends that the empowerment of all persons beyond narrow and restrictive gender role definitions leads to the highest level of functioning in individual women and men, to the most healthy interactions between the genders, and to the richest relationships between them.
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Division 51 Central Office
Has your address changed?
Do you have a question about your membership?
Are you missing copies of the journal or newsletter?
Do you need a membership application sent to a friend?
Contact: Keith Cooke
Division 51 Administrative Office
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-6197 Fax: 202-218-3599
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APA Convention Dates
August 7 - August 10, 2003
(more details coming in the next edition)
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Application for Membership in SPSMM
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Make check payable to Division 51, SPSMM. Send application & check to Division 51 Administrative Office, American Psychological Association, 750 First St., NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242.
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SPSMM Policy on Book Reviews
SPSMM provides book reviews for members to learn about the latest books in the field. Currently, book reviews are published in the SPSMM Bulletin because page space in the Divisions journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity (PMM) is at a premium with priority being placed on publishing manuscripts. This policy could be revisited once additional pages are allocated to PMM.
Persons interested in reviewing books or having their books reviewed in the Bulletin should contact the SPSMM Book Review Editor. The SPSMM Bulletin Book Editor will exercise his or her discretion as to which book will be reviewed in any given issue based on his or her judgment about the interests of the membership and mission of SPSMM. The current SPSMM Book Review Editor is Dr. Jay Wade, Department of Psychology, Fordham University, Dealy Hall, 441 E. Fordham Rd., Bronx, NY 10458.
Book reviewers must assert in writing that they do not have a conflict of interest or personal relationship that would interfere with providing an objective review. The Book Review Editor will select reviewers in response to an authors request, and the author will provide a copy of the book to the Book Review Editor.
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Visit Our Website
The Divisions website is under revision through the efforts of Dr. Robert Rando. When it is completed, please visit it for information about all the activities of the Division: position statement, bylaws, officers, task force information, membership information, discussion list information, important links, convention programming, newsletter archives, election information, information on submitting cookbook recipes, and a research project page that facilitates the process of planning research, linking colleagues, and organizing presentations. Visit it today! www.apa.org/divisions/div51.
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Come and Get It!
The Divisions Cookbook is ready for release and people are raving about it. In the words of Sam Cochran, This is a spectacular collection of recipes and stories, truly distinctive in the world of cookbooks . . . I will treasure this book for many years to come. After all, in what other cookbook will you find Lenore Walkers Holiday Turkey, David Lisaks inspirational recipe for red chile sauce, Murry Schers best blueberry muffins in the world recipe, Ron Levants couscous-stuffed green pepper recipe, or David Roses Teppanyaki Pancake recipe (yum). All the recipes in the book are clearly family favorites that are conveyed with a loving and charming sense of personal history. This is a cookbook that everyone must own! The Divisions Cookbook is now available by sending a $20 check to Larry Beer at Child and Family Psychological Services, 5380 Holiday Terrace, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. Make your check payable to Larry Beer.
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Psychological Student of Men and Masculinity
Division 51 of the American Psychological
Corey Habben, PsyD
Behavioral Health Clinic
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Building 6, Rm 3054
Washington, DC 20307-5001
John Robertson, PhD
Kansas State University
Lafaene Student Health Room 238
Manhattan, KS 66506
(Will soon change to Lawrence, Kansas)
Sam Cochran, PhD
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242-1100
Phone: (319) 335-7294
Fax: (319) 335-7298
Lawrence B. Beer, EdD
6101 Rothbury Street
Portage, MI 49024-2390
Phone: (616) 372-4140
Fax: (616) 372-0390
Michele Harway, PhD
801 Garden Street
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Phone: 805-962-8179 x320
Doug Haldeman, PhD
2910 E. Madison St., #302
Seattle, WA 98112
Phone: (w) (206) 328-6025; (h) (206) 364-8276
Fax: (206) 860-2411
Marty Wong, PhD
15 Elizabeth street
Charleston, SC 29403
Neil A. Massoth, PhD (2001-2003)
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Teaneck, NJ 07666
Phone: (201) 692-2300
Fax: (201) 444-7201
Holly B. Sweet, PhD (2001-2003)
Room 24-612, MIT
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02135
Phone: (617) 253-7786
Fax: (617) 258-9500
Glenn E. Good, PhD
16 Hill Hall, University of Missouri
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Phone: (573) 882-3084
Fax: (573) 884-5989
Ron Levant, EdD, ABPP
Office of the Dean
Center for Psychological Studies
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CODAPAR LIAISON TO DIVISION 51
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Lawrence B. Beer, EdD
Fred Rabinowitz, PhD
University of Redlands
1200 E. Colton Avenue
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Email: fredric_ email@example.com
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Psychology Service (116B4)
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MEMBERSHIP AND RECRUITMENT
NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS
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Jim Mahalik, PhD
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Phone: (617) 552-4077
Fax: (617) 552-1981
DIVISION 51 WEB SITE COORDINATOR
Robert Rando, PhD
Director, Center for Psychological Services
Associate Professor, School of Professional Psychology
Wright State University
Dayton, Ohio 43435
DIVISION 51 LISTSERV FACILITATOR
Michael Addis, PhD
Department of Psychology
950 Main Street
Worchester, MA 10610
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Division 51 Webmaster: Robert A. Rando, Ph.D.
Last modification on: March 14, 2003