Conformity to Masculine Norms and Attitudes Toward Sexual Behavior: A Study Among College Students Involved in Sport


  • Lorin Tredinnick Department of Athletics, Kean University
  • Tarkington Newman Department of Social Work, University of New Hampshire
  • Rebecca Bosetti School of Social Work, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Kathryn Hyzak College of Social Work, The Ohio State University
  • Jerry Reynolds Department of Social Work, Ball State University
  • Richard Weaver Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminology, Morehead State University



masculinity, sexual behavior, sexual violence, sport participation, college


Conformity to masculine norms has been connected to high-risk behaviors among college students, including sexual behavior. Research suggests that sport participation reinforces masculinity and predicts acceptance of sexually aggressive attitudes and behaviors, which may be a precursor to sexual violence. However, little is known about conformity to masculine norms and sexual behavior within the context of sport. This study examined the association between conformity between masculine norms (i.e., dominance, success and winning, risk-taking, and violence) and attitudes toward sexual behavior. The final analyzed sample included a total of 547 undergraduate students who compete in collegiate or community-based sport. Results from the ordinary least squares regression analysis indicated participants with greater acceptance of dominance, risk-taking, and violence had greater attitudes toward sexual behavior. Males reported greater attitudes toward sexual behavior than females. Implications from this study underscore the need to promote positive masculinity and healthy sexual relationships with a unique subculture of college students. 


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