Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation




Clinical-Community Psychology

First Advisor

Suzanne C. Swan


In response to high intimate partner violence prevalence rates among college students, schools across the country have increased their efforts to prevent men's perpetration of violence against women. To date, research examining the efficacy of these programs indicates that they are successful in reducing men's violence-accepting attitudes and may even reduce men's behavioral intentions to commit violence (Lonsway, et al., 2007). However, the violence prevention field has yet to address the issue of men's under-representation in prevention efforts.

Only a minority of men are violent (Berkowitz, 2004; Kilmartin, 2007), and recently prevention advocates have stressed the importance of engaging non-violent men in ending violence against women (Connell, 2003; Crooks, Goodall, Hughes, Jaffe, & Baker, 2007). Non-violent men can have an influence on the culture and environment that perpetuates men's violence against women by challenging and ultimately changing the social norms that support it (Berkowitz, 2004). Though the number of violence prevention interventions for college men has recently increased (Clinton-Sherrod, et al., 2003), it is imperative that an understanding of barriers and catalysts for men's involvement inform the development of such programs.

Several scholars have argued that in order for men to ally with women in ending violence, men must undertake an ongoing process of changing themselves through self-examination and self-discovery (Funk, 1993; Kaufman, 1998). Ultimately, the goal of this process is for men to come to terms with the complex ways in which gender socialization promotes gender inequality so that men can fully support equality and reject violence (Funk, 1993; Godenzi, 1999; Kaufman, 1994, 1998; Kimmel & Mosmiller, 1992; Thorne-Finch, 1992).

The current study addresses gaps in the prevention literature regarding men's involvement in preventing violence against women by: (a) developing a measure, the Male Gender Equality Scale (MGES), to assess constructs related to men's support for gender equality, and (b) examining the relationship between conformity to traditional masculine norms, men's support for gender equality, violence, and violence prevention self-efficacy. Findings indicate men who conform to traditional masculine norms are more likely to engage in and experience violence in their relationships, and they report less violence prevention self-efficacy. However, men's support for gender equality mediates the relationship between conformity to traditional masculine norms and violence prevention self-efficacy. Specifically, more conformity to masculine norms is related to less support for gender equality; and greater support for gender equality is related to higher levels of violence prevention self-efficacy. Findings suggest that to reduce men's violence towards women in intimate relationships, men's conformity to masculine norms must be reduced. However, to increase men's willingness to become involved in violence prevention efforts, men's active support for gender equality must also be increased. Implications for preventive efforts are discussed.