What is it about?

Endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology (emotional stoicism and social teasing) in U.S. high school students positively predicted avoidance of help seeking in English and negatively predicted English intrinsic interest in boys as well as girls. In turn, help avoidance and intrinsic interest predicted students’ English course grades. Also, endorsement of traditional masculinity in girls (but not boys) was positively related to math intrinsic interest and negatively related to math help avoidance, which each predicted math grades.

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Why is it important?

In contrast to some arguments that schools are 'feminine" environments that disadvantage boys' academic achievement, research indicates it is adherence to traditional masculinity that undermines their achievement overall, but especially in English (language arts).


Cultural stereotypes may lead many boys to view language arts (reading and writing) as feminine-stereotyped domains. Boys who internalize traditional masculinity norms may tend to devalue language arts and to avoid help in language arts classrooms. Over time, these attitudes may undermine their achievement.

Campbell Leaper
University of California Santa Cruz

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This page is a summary of: Traditional masculinity, help avoidance, and intrinsic interest in relation to high school students’ English and math performance., Psychology of Men & Masculinity, October 2018, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/men0000188.
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