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IPFS News Link • Family

Like father, like son: Research shows young men 'copy' their fathers' masculinity

•, by The Conversation

But how do men develop their ideas, beliefs and behaviours in relation to masculinity?

Our new study addresses this question by focusing on one important factor influencing how young men express their masculinity – their fathers. Our research set out to ask: do young men "copy" their fathers' masculinity?

We found that young men whose fathers support more traditional forms of masculinity are more likely to do so themselves. This highlights the critical role fathers play in steering boys towards healthier ideas about masculinity.

Measuring masculinity

We analysed data from 839 pairs of 15-to-20-year-old men and their fathers. These data were taken from a large, Australian national survey on men's health.

The survey asked men a set of 22 scientifically validated questions about how they felt and behaved in relation to many issues around masculinity. For example, they were asked about:

the significance of work and social status for their sense of identity

their take on showing emotions and being self-reliant

their endorsement of risk-taking and violent behaviors

the importance they assigned to appearing heterosexual and having multiple partners

and their beliefs about winning, dominance over others and men's power over women.

Taken together, the answers to these questions offered us a window into whether the men participating in the survey adopted more of a traditional or progressive type of masculinity. They also enabled us to compare fathers' and sons' expressions of masculinity.

Anarchapulco 2023