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Publication Date

Fall 2018

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Matthew R. Capriotti


Gay, Gender, Masculinity, Masculinity Threat, Minority Stress, Sexual Minorities

Subject Areas

Psychology; Clinical psychology; Gender studies


Gay men are known to experience higher levels of negative health outcomes (i.e., substance abuse disorder, depression) than the general population. These issues can be mitigated through a fostering a support system among a community of other gay men. One barrier to building this sense of solidarity is when there are gay men who discriminate against other gay men for being effeminate. Using a sample of gay men (n = 103), the current study used false feedback for an online personality test to assess role that threatened masculinity might play in this phenomenon. Addressing a gap in the research, it was determined that gay men do not, in general, react similarly to heterosexual men when masculinity is threatened. However, there were significant interactions between masculinity threat and heterosexist events, such that when masculinity was threatened and participants experienced frequent of heterosexist events, the overcompensation response to masculinity threat was seen. Participants who reported higher levels of minority stress (internalized homophobia, heterosexist events) reported higher negative attitudes towards other gay men. Overall, findings of the current study suggest that minority stress may interact with masculinity threat in gay men, in a way that is nuanced and unique from masculinity threat reactions documented in heterosexual men.