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Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Experimental Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Czopp, Alex

Second Advisor

Lemm, Kristi M., 1971-

Third Advisor

Scollon, Christie Napa


Masculinity is a precarious and highly valued social identity. Threatening masculinity leads to a range of compensatory responses to recover manhood, which may also impact men’s engagement in sustainable behaviors. Men might embrace or avoid pro-environmentalism when a masculine or feminine gender identity is signaled. The current research applied processes of gender socialization and identity maintenance to the context of environmentalism across two studies. Overall findings showed that masculinity threats can have varied consequences in sustainable contexts, moderated by men’s level of identification with their gender. Study 1 (N = 208) examined if pro-environmental behaviors acted as a threat to masculinity, leading to general compensatory strategies to reassert manhood through embracing masculine attributes and preferences and rejecting feminine attributes and preferences, moderated by masculine identification. Results showed that men with low masculine identification expressed less endorsement of masculine attributes when threatened, but higher identification overall was related to higher masculine attribute endorsement. Study 2 (N = 394) assessed if pro-environmental behaviors, specifically those aligned with masculine norms, would be embraced as recovery strategy in response to a general masculinity threat. Results showed an overall pattern of men with higher masculine identification distancing from all pro-environmental behaviors, demonstrating that even sustainable behaviors that align with masculine norms may have underlying feminine associations. This research provides insight into the environmentalism gender gap and highlights the importance of masculine identification in how men experience and recover from identity threats in sustainable contexts.




masculinity, gender identity, environmentalism, sustainable behavior, masculinity threats, masculine identification


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Masculinity; Gender identity; Environmentalism; Sustainability; Men--Identity




masters theses




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