The role of blame in mediating the transformation of distress into anger in the hypermasculine male
Research has demonstrated an association between the hypermasculine personality pattern and history of sexually aggressive behavior. This study was conducted to examine emotions experienced by hypermasculine or macho men when prevented from attaining a goal relevant to their sense of attractiveness and sexuality by a woman. It was hypothesized that macho males would respond to high and moderate threats to their masculine identity with greater blame and anger than non-macho males. Macho men's blame was hypothesized to mediate the transformation of negative emotions such as distress into anger. After screening with the Hypermasculinity Inventory, 34 high hypermasculine and 36 low hypermasculine men were assigned to one of three experimental conditions in which the feedback received from a female partner was either highly threatening, moderately threatening, or neutral in nature. Measures of emotion and blame were collected after the men received their feedback. Results of the study indicated that macho and non-macho men differed only in the moderate threat condition. Macho men in this condition reported greater anger yet less blame than the non-macho men. The pattern of results is most consistent with Berkowitz's cognitive-neoassociationistic model of emotion, which does not require blame for anger to occur, as does Lazarus' cognitive- motivational-relational theory of emotion. Results of the study suggest that anger in macho men is associated with the level of surprise in a situation.