Graduation Date

Spring 2023

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Amber Gaffney

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Amanda Hahn

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Lily Syfers

Third Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Subject Categories



The purpose of this research is to further examine the underlying mechanisms of why heterosexual cisgender men perpetuate prejudice toward women and gay men. This work addresses this using a combination of precarious manhood theory with work on masculinity threat and heterosexuality threat under a social identity theory framework. Study 1a explored the effect of masculinity threat and uncertainty on cisgender heterosexual men’s prejudice towards women and gay men. Study 1b was operationally the same, except, instead of masculinity threat, heterosexuality threat was paired with uncertainty. As groups, women and gay men may pose unique threats to men’s masculinity and heterosexuality. Masculinity and heterosexuality threats may pose threats to the self-concept of heterosexual cisgender men, making parts of the self-concept feel unstable and uncertain, contributing to reactionary responses toward the source(s) of the threat. Both studies primed uncertainty to determine whether, in combination with either type of threat, it uniquely or similarly contributes to protecting the threatened identity through the expression of prejudice. Though we would expect that both masculinity and heterosexuality threats would threaten the self-concept, we found that the interaction of uncertainty and masculinity threat predicted feelings of self-prototypicality in the masculine identity, which, in turn, predicted more ambivalent sexist attitudes toward women and negative attitudes toward gay men. This was not found for the heterosexuality threat.

Citation Style


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