Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Stephen Jefferson, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Rusty McIntyre, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eamonn Arble, Ph.D.


The phenomenon of “precarious manhood” suggests that when a man perceives a threat to his masculinity, he will respond with anxiety and will subsequently increase his displays of traditional masculinity. The main purpose of this study is to address a parallel phenomenon in women (i.e., “precarious womanhood”), the existence of which previous authors have dismissed. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either high scores, low scores, or no scores following a supposed maternal instinct questionnaire. Then, their subsequent mood and gender identity endorsement were measured via self-report. It was hypothesized that, compared to participants who received either high or no scores, participants who received low scores (i.e., a femininity threat) would experience an increase in (a) their self-reported negative affect and (b) stereotypically feminine traits and behaviors. These hypotheses were not supported by the data. Exploratory analyses provide tentative support but require further study.

Included in

Psychology Commons