New Masculinity: Exploring the Effects of a Men’s Initiation Weekend

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American men are in a troubled state. They are plagued by “poorer outcomes on a broad array of health and well-being variables when compared to women, including higher rates of inherited and behaviorally influenced disease, problematic development, educational difficulty, violence perpetration and victimization, addiction, unemployment and shorter life expectancy” (Burke, Maton, Mankowski, & Anderson, 2010, p. 186). What is needed is a new “psychology of men” (Levant & Williams, 2009). The Midwestern Men’s Organization, founded in 2001 by a group of pastors disillusioned with society’s and the church’s responses to modern men, is an organization attempting to facilitate the development of men of integrity, courage, and grace (Midwestern Men’s Organization website, 2007; citation omitted to protect confidentiality) using a carefully-designed weekend retreat. The purpose of this study is to explore the weekend’s effect on participants’ authenticity, assertiveness, and willingness to forgive (empirical constructs analogous to integrity, courage, and grace, respectively). The hypothesis is that the men who participate in the Midwestern Men’s Organization weekend will demonstrate a significant increase in authenticity, assertiveness, and willingness to forgive after the weekend, as measured by their responses on empirically-validated pencil-and-paper measures of these traits given before, immediately after, and one month after the weekend. Results indicate that weekend retreat participants demonstrated a significant increase in authenticity, assertiveness, and willingness to forgive after the retreat. Implications of the weekend’s effect on participants are explored.

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Gooden, Winston E.

Document Type





Masculinity, Middle West, Men




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