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What level of hypermasculinity is linked to sexual assault on college campuses? Loyola researcher publishes study

Loyola press release - February 10, 2014

A new study from Loyola University New Orleans psychology professor Charles S. Corprew, III, Ph.D., is taking a deeper look at the precursor to sexual assault on the college campus: the wide range of hypermasculine attitudes adopted by college-age men—some of them extreme.

Co-authored by Jamaal S. Matthews, Ph.D., of Montclair State University and Avery Mitchell of George Washington University/University of Maryland, the “Men at the Crossroads: A profile analysis of hypermasculinity in emerging adulthood” study will be published in The Journal of Men's Studies this spring. The study investigates the varying hypermasculine attitudes of more than 300 college-age men.

At the heart of the study is the finding that men adopt varying dimensions of hypermasculinity, and those who adopt the most extreme levels of hypermasculinity have the greatest propensity to hold hostile attitudes toward women, a precursor to sexual assault.

That’s a breakthrough finding, because a more multifaceted analysis of hypermasculinity could help to narrow the scope on identifying men on college campuses who may be prone to committing not only physical violence, but also sexual violence. In the study, those men characterized by the researchers as Extreme Hypermasculine and Traditional Hypermasculine reported the highest levels of hostility toward women.

“Hypermasculinity is not one size fits all. Based on our research, males may choose to adopt greater levels of certain hypermasculine attitudes and lower levels of others. For example, males in the Traditional Hypermasculine group adopted higher levels of dominance and aggression and calloused sexual attitudes, but reported lower anti-feminine attitudes,” Corprew said.

“More research is needed to discern the differences between the Extreme Hypermasculine and Traditional Hypermasculine groups. We suppose men in the Extreme Hypermasculine group may be more likely to commit sexual assault due to their high adoption across all of the dimensions of hypermasculinity; however, this is speculation at this time,” Corprew said. “We will continue to delve into the research to delineate the core differences between the groups."