A Cognitive Uncoupling: Masculinity Threats and the Rejection of Relationship Interdependence

Veronica M. Lamarche, Ciara Atkinson, Alyssa Croft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


What happens when a primary resource people draw from in times of need is at odds with maintaining a threatened, yet valued, identity? Four studies (Ntotal = 806) examined whether men cognitively disengage from romantic relationships following masculinity threats. As hypothesized, romantically attached men reported less closeness, commitment, and interdependence in their romantic relationships (Study 1), and both single and romantically attached men expressed less positive commitment beliefs (Study 2) following masculinity threats. Supporting a strategy of distancing from interdependence to protect masculinity, perceivers evaluated men who used more interdependent language to describe their relationships as less masculine and more feminine (Studies 3a and 3b). However, exhibiting less interdependence did not restore third-party evaluations of masculinity following a public masculinity threat (Study 3b). Thus, subverting relationship interdependence to protect perceptions of masculinity is an ineffective strategy for restoring masculinity in the eyes of others and may cause unnecessary strain on relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)920-929
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • identity
  • interdependence
  • masculinity threats
  • person perception
  • relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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