Boys’ Perceptions of the Male Role:
Understanding Gender Role Conflict in
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Adolescent males are at risk for a number of academic, social, and
emotional problems. Existing research provides evidence that a
number of these problems are related to conflicts experienced by
adolescent males through the gender socialization process, called
gender role conflict. Whereas there is ample empirical literature
on gender role conflict in adult males, few researchers have inves-
tigated this hypothesized conflict in adolescent males. This study,
involving small interview groups of adolescent males, was
designed to examine the validity of the gender role construct for
adolescent males, gender role conflict, male role
he well-being of adolescent boys has been a topic of growing concern over the
past 15 or so years (Beymer, 1995; Horne & Kiselica, 1999; Osherson, 1986).
Researchers have observed that adolescent males are at risk for academic, social, and
emotional problems in a number of areas. Adolescent males are more likely than ado-
lescent females to drop out of school, be referred in school for disciplinary action,
receive lower grades, fail a grade in school, not graduate from high school, and not
continue on to college (Coley, 2001; U.S. Department of Education, 1996). They are
diagnosed with mental retardation, attention disorders, dyslexia, stuttering, and
delayed speech more frequently than are adolescent girls (Halpern, 1997). In addi-
tion, adolescent males are more likely than adolescent females to commit suicide, be
threatened or injured with a weapon at school, be in a physical fight, die from homi-
cide, and commit a violent crime (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention
and Health Promotion, 2002; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002).
Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Randolph H. Watts, Jr., Good Counsel High
School, 11601 Georgia Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902. Electronic mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Journal of Men’s Studies
, Vol. 13, No. 2, Winter 2005, 267-280.
© 2005 by the Men’s Studies Press, LLC. All rights reserved.