Abstract: Patterns of Gender Equitable Attitudes and Behaviors Among Men: Relationships with Violence Perpetration (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

Patterns of Gender Equitable Attitudes and Behaviors Among Men: Relationships with Violence Perpetration

Thursday, January 13, 2022
Liberty Ballroom K, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Erin Casey, Professor, University of Washington, Tacoma, Tacoma, WA
Claire Willey-Sthapit, MSSW, Doctoral Candidate, University of Washington, WA
Juliana Carlson, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Jill Hoxmeier, PhD, Associate Professor, Central Washington University, WA

Efforts to engage men in gender equity promotion and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention often aim to both enhance men’s attitudinal commitment to gender equity and to increase gender equitable behavior (among other outcomes). Emerging evidence suggests that the relationship between gender equitable attitudes and gender equitable behaviors is not linear, however, and that attitudinal support for gender equity does not always directly translate to concrete action related to gender equity or to non-violence (Levtov et al., 2014). The different ways that men think about and perform gender equity hold implications for how they can best be ethically engaged in violence prevention. The purpose of this study was therefore to determine whether patterns of gender equitable attitudes and behavior could be detected in a national sample of men in the U.S., and, subsequently, whether resulting patterns were differentially associated with violence perpetration.


Data from 481 men recruited from a research panel maintained by Prolific (an online research company) were used to conduct a latent class analysis (LCA) of the “types” of ways that men combine gender equitable attitudes and behaviors. Race/ethnicity was distributed nearly equally among African American, Asian American, Latino, and White identities, and men came from all regions of the U.S. The LCA was conducted in Mplus, and attitudinal LCA indicators included the Social Roles Questionnaire, the Attitudes Toward Gender Equity Scale, and a new Attitudes Toward Caregiving Scale. Behavioral indicators included domestic carework such as cooking and cleaning, gender equitable behaviors at work, anti-violence bystander behavior, and participation in anti-GBV events. Classes detected through the LCA were then compared on relative rates of violence perpetration.


Across fit indicators, a five-class LCA model was the best-fitting solution to the data. Classes included an “All-Talk” group, comprised of men with strong endorsement of gender equitable attitudes, but low levels of equitable behaviors; a “Feminist” group of men reporting strong gender equitable attitudes and behaviors; a “Traditional” group comprised of men with lower endorsement of gender equitable attitudes and behaviors; a “Chivalrous” group reporting high levels of gender-equitable behaviors, including bystander behavior, but low endorsement of gender equitable attitudes; and an “Ambivalent” group characterized by mid-range values across attitudes and behaviors. Post-hoc comparisons revealed that the “Chivalrous” group reported intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and sexual harassment perpetration at statistically significant rates two to four times those of all other groups.


Findings indicate significant heterogeneity in the ways that men think about and perform gender equity in their lives. Importantly for violence prevention efforts, among groups of men who reported high levels of engagement in anti-violence events or anti-violence bystander behaviors, some (the “Feminist” group) also reported gender equitable attitudes and low levels of violence. Others, however, (the “Chivalrous” group) reported lower endorsement of gender equitable attitudes and high levels of violence perpetration. This suggests that even among “successfully” engaged men, differential prevention approaches may be needed, along with careful attention to survivors’ safety and the potential for performative accountability even in ostensibly GBV "preventative" spaces.