Ryan S. Cox Dissertation Final Defense


The College of Education, Health and

Human Sciences

Announces the Final Examination of

Ryan S. Cox

for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

April 27th, 2015 at 11:00 am

103 Ball Hall, University of Memphis

Memphis, TN

Biographical Sketch

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, St. Edward’s University

Master of Arts, Counseling, Pacific University

Advisory Committee

Dr. Suzanne Lease, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research, Committee Chair

Dr. Sara Bridges, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research

Dr. Elin Ovrebo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research

Dr. Brian Schilling, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Health and Sport Sciences

Major Field of Study

            Counseling Psychology

Period of Preparation: 2011-2015

Comprehensive Examination Passed: August 2013


Hegemonic Masculinity and Health Outcomes in Men:

A Mediational Study on the Influence of Masculinity on Diet



Research has demonstrated that men have markedly worse health outcomes than women and have higher rates of death from all 15 leading causes of death except Alzheimer’s disease. Little is known about the cause of this discrepancy, except that in evaluations of lifestyle choices and preventive health factors, men engage in far more health-defeating behaviors than women, including consuming diets significantly lower in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and micronutrients, and higher in fat and cholesterol. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the links between hegemonic masculinity, social physique anxiety, and poor dietary choices in men. Hegemonic masculinity is a form of masculine identification associated with cultural dominance and subordination of women and other, less idealized forms of masculinity. Specifically, I hypothesized that adherence to hegemonic masculinity would predict higher rates of social physique anxiety among American men that, in turn, would predict worse dietary habits and patterns. The current study examined survey responses from 313 male participants living in the United States. A multiple regression indicated that the total masculinity scale score was not significantly related to food choices, nor to social physique anxiety. Social physique anxiety, however, was found to be highly predictive of dietary choices and beliefs. These results have implications for how mental health professionals may assist men in making more healthful and conscientious choices.

Comments are closed.