Toward an Empirical Model of Male Homosocial Relatedness: An Investigation of Friendship in Uniform and Beyond


Kaplan, Danny, and Amir Rosenmann. 2014. “Toward an Empirical Model of Male Homosocial Relatedness: An Investigation of Friendship in Uniform and Beyond.” Psychology of Men & Masculinity 15 (1): 12-21. doi:10.1037/a0031289.

Authors: Danny Kaplan, Amir Rosenmann


Following a critique of prevalent views of men’s friendships as lacking in emotional expressiveness, this study introduced an empirical model for male bonding derived from the homosocial perspective in men studies. A concept of male homosocial relatedness (MHR) was proposed that integrates the features associated with dyadic friendship with those of group comradeship. This model takes into account that expression of positive and negative emotions associated with male bonding may vary in social legitimacy across relational settings. An inventory of positive and negative emotions associated with MHR was developed and administered to two groups of male combat and noncombat Israeli soldiers (N = 369). Participants completed self-reports of emotional relatedness toward each of three targets: male unit peers, nonmilitary male best friend, and girlfriend. Findings suggest that the structure of emotional relatedness differed between the homosocial settings (male unit peers and best friend) and the heterosexual setting (girlfriend). This supports the importance of social legitimacy in the homosocial setting. As hypothesized, combat soldiers reported greater emotional relatedness both to unit peers and to (nonmilitary) best friend compared with noncombat soldiers. No comparable difference was found between combat and noncombat soldiers in ratings of emotional relatedness toward girlfriends. We suggest that the impact of homosocial socialization, such as found in combat units, extends beyond the homosocial enclave and legitimizes emotional expressiveness in male dyadic bonds as well.

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East

Year: 2014

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