Emily Sargent, Psy.D., is a 2022 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Kathi Borden, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Kate Evarts, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Roger Peterson, PsyD, Committee Member


masculinity, gender socialization, qualitative, emerging adult

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Majority-status American men have been found to disproportionately experience suicide, homicide, perpetration of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, as well as, alcohol and drug-related concerns. Current research considers gender socialization of traditional constructs of masculinity to be “toxic” for men and others (i.e., Women, gender and sexual minorities). This study sought to explore young men’s current experience of masculinity identity development in America. Six participants who self-identified as White, straight, English speaking, educated, cisgender, and emerging adult men shared their lived experience of masculinity via virtual video interviews. To assess results of this qualitative study, interpretive phenomenological analysis was utilized. Results showed that learning of masculinity occurred in social contexts, the learned construct of masculinity aligned with traditional hegemonic norms, participants felt a socioemotional toll of masculine norms, and a future of diminished gender-based norms was imagined to be personally and societally beneficial. These results align with current literature, while further illuminating the current perspectives and experiences of young men within this sociocultural context. Despite supposedly held identity-based privileges, men may prefer a movement away from identity-based norms. Limitations and future directions for research are discussed.