Margaret B. Gillespie



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Research on male behavior has historically focused on negative aspects, such as consumption of excessive alcohol, engaging in demeaning actions against women and participating in violent behavior (Harper & Harris, 2010). The attitudes and perceptions of being a man are influenced by numerous factors, including family, friends, religion, and environment (Harris & Harper, 2008). This research was designed to identify and target the positive attitudes of sophomore men at the University of Dayton; to attempt to identify where the attitudes came from and the barriers men face to remain true to their value bases. While research on the existence and development of pro-social behaviors (i.e., behaviors intended to benefit others) has been an active field of study for the last several decades, student affairs practitioners at the higher education level have traditionally tried to correct anti-social behavior by focusing on the negative â frequency of sexual assaults by men, unhealthy drinking habits, and other counterproductive behaviors (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998; Berkowitz, 2010). Research also shows, however, that most men report having pro-social attitudes but are inhibited from expressing them because of the incorrect perception that other men have do not have pro-social attitudes. This misperception also serves as a justification to other men to allow anti-social behavior (Berkowitz, 2010). In an attempt to be pro-active about destructive behavior, this research gave men the opportunity to reveal the truth about their authentic attitudes towards each other and about how men act today. This approach created an environment free from misperceptions and reduced a false and destructive sense of gender dichotomies. The results of this research provided insights for college administrators to use as they design and implement male-centric programming and initiatives designed to help college men remain true to themselves.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Molly A. Schaller

Primary Advisor's Department

Counselor Education and Human Services


Stander Symposium project, student affairs, School of Education and Health Sciences

The pro-social attitudes of sophomore men at the University of Dayton