“Firm Father Figures” by Klann et al.


In their study, Klann, Joel Wong, and Rydell (2018) investigate the ways that fathers’ perceptions affect sons’ experiences and gender attributes. Scholars remark that the questions of males’ development of gender role conflicts, sexist behaviors, and subjective masculinity stress have not received sufficient attention from researchers. Hence, Klann et al. (2018) offer a model that reflects the relationship between perceived paternal sexist communication and modeling of masculine norms and perceived paternal authoritarianism. Alongside, scholars establish a connection between these issues and such outcome variables as “gender role conflict,” “sons’ sexism,” and “subjective masculinity stress” (Klann et al., 2018, p. 500).

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The authors remark that masculinity-associated stress is likely to cause a variety of public health issues, including violence against women, sexual harassment, and gun violence. In the review of literature, Klann et al. (2018) note that sexual-based behaviors result in biased treatment of women and unfair distribution of work and social benefits. Scholars consider paternal modeling as the most influential aspect of developing negative attitudes in sons. At the same time, they emphasize that the problem of paternal sexist communication to their sons has not been researched to the necessary extent.

The sample consists of 170 male participants older than eighteen who have had a significant connection to their fathers for at least eighteen years. The median age is 19.2 since the younger the person, the more likely he can remember his communication with his father (Klann et al., 2018). The authors have employed the SPSS macro PROCESS to test their hypotheses. Findings indicate that there is a positive link between sons’ understanding of their fathers’ authoritarianism and the anticipated paternal modeling.

Critical Reaction

The article by Klann et al. (2018) covers an interesting and important topic, but it is difficult to follow some of the authors’ ideas and thoroughly grasp all of their points. Operational definitions suggested by Klann et al. (2018) are relevant and help the audience to understand the core of the study better. However, while mentioning three outcome variables, the authors neglect to assert their dependent and independent variables. This fact makes the reader confused and urges one to assume these crucial components.

Scholars have identified three hypotheses that are only partially supported as a result of the study. Specifically, Klann et al. (2018) have been able to prove that there is a positive link between the perceptions of fathers’ authoritarianism and sons’ sexist communication and modeling of masculine norms. Also, the authors conclude that paternal authoritarianism is indirectly associated with sons’ sexism by means of fathers’ modeling of male norms. Still, Klann et al. (2018) admit that they have not found a connection between such modeling and gender role disputes.

The study has some significant limitations, including the lack of opportunity for generalizability since Klann et al. (2018) enrolled mostly White undergraduate students from only one educational establishment. Thus, future implications are concerned with inviting male participants of different ethnicities and from diverse locations. Another weakness is the small sample and the use of respondents’ recollections as data for analysis.

There is no opportunity to check the authenticity of responses, and the study’s non-longitudinal nature is a disadvantage due to minimizing the possibility to compare results over time. Still, despite these and other limitations, Klann et al. (2018) have initiated the investigation of a highly important issue, and further research on this question is likely to produce more significant results.

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Klann, E. M., Joel Wong, Y., & Rydell, R. J. (2018). Firm father figures: A moderated mediation model of perceived authoritarianism and the intergenerational transmission of gender messages from fathers to sons. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 65(4), 500-511.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) '“Firm Father Figures” by Klann et al'. 3 June.

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