Monday, August 30, 2010

Psychologists preaching feminism again

I had a bit to do with this in my own research career. I found huge holes in the feminism-supporting "research" of my fellow psychologists at the time. So the latest bit of nonsense does not surprise me. It says that feminized boys are psychologically healthier, just as lots of other psychologists repeatedly claim (by ignoring a lot of evidence) that leftists are psychologically healthier.

The report below has not yet passed peer review and been published in an academic journal so is a bit difficult to evaluate but it clearly depends on a questionnaire called the Children's Depression Inventory, and they almost certainly used it inappropriately. Note here for instance, that it should not be used alone as a diagnostic tool. It is too weakly predictive for that. It is supposed to be used only in conjunction with a diagnostic interview. There is no mention of such a precaution below.

Additionally, a standard warning with the test is that is is very open to the respondents "faking good" yet there is no mention below of that being controlled for or examined in any way. Use of a Lie scale might have been considered, for instance.

And since teaching is so feminized these days, more feminine boys are probably more aware of teacher expectations and are therefore both better at faking good and more motivated to do it. So their "healthier" scores could well be simple fakery.

The findings below are then readily explained as the product of sloppy and biased research rather than reflecting anything real
Being a mama's boy, new research suggests, may be good for your mental health. That, at least, is the conclusion of a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association by Carlos Santos, a professor at Arizona State University's School of Social and Family Dynamics.

Santos recently conducted a study that followed 426 boys through middle school to investigate the extent to which the boys favor stereotypically male qualities such as emotional stoicism and physical toughness over stereotypically feminine qualities such as emotional openness and communication, and whether that has any influence on their mental well-being. His main finding was that the further along the boys got in their adolescence, the more they tended to embrace hypermasculine stereotypes. But boys who remained close to their mothers did not act as tough and were more emotionally available. Closeness to fathers did not have the same effect, his research found.

Using a mental-health measure called the Children's Depression Inventory, he also found that boys who shunned masculine stereotypes and remained more emotionally available had, on average, better rates of mental health through middle school. "If you look at the effect size of my findings, mother support and closeness was the most predictive of boys' ability to resist [hypermasculine] stereotypes and therefore predictive of better mental health," Santos says. He adds that his research did not examine why a close mother-son relationship differed in its effect from a close father-son bond, but he suspects that fathers use stereotypically male behaviors to guide their sons into adulthood. "It could be, men see close relationships with their sons as an opportunity to reinforce traditional gender roles," he says. (See a story on mothers who opt for breast milk, not breast-feeding.)


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