Male Role Norms Scale (MRNS)

The Male Norms Scale (MRNS) assesses respondents' agreement with 26 belief statements about men's expected behavior. The items were derived from Brannon & Junni's (1984) scale measuring attitudes towards masculinity. The scale includes three sub-scales: Male Status, Toughness, and Anti-femininity.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Male

Age Range:


Status Norm Scale
1. Success in his work has to be a man's central goal in this life.
2. The best way for a young man to get the respect of other people is to get a job, take it seriously, and do it well.
3. A man owes it to his family to work at the best paying job he can get.
4. A man should generally work overtime to make more money whenever he has the chance.
5. A man always deserves the respect of his wife and children.
6. It is essential for a man to always have the respect and admiration of everyone who knows him.
7. A man should never back down in the face of trouble.
8. I always like a man who's totally sure of himself.
9. A man should always think everything out coolly and logically, and have rational reasons for everything he does.
10. A man should always try to project an air of confidence even if he really doesn't feel confident inside.
11. A man must stand on his own two feet and never depend on other people to help him do things.

Toughness Norm Scale
12. When a man is feeling a little pain he should try not to let it show very much.
13. Nobody respects a man very much who frequently talks about his worries, fears, and problems.
14. A good motto for a man would be "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."
15. I think a young man should try to become physically tough, even if he's not big.
16. Fists are sometimes the only way to get out of a bad situation.
17. A real man enjoys a bit of danger now and then.
18. In some kinds of situations a man should be ready to use his fists, even if his wife or his girlfriend would object.
*19. A man should always refuse to get into a fight, even if there seems to be no way to avoid it.

Anti-femininity Norm Scale
20. It bothers me when a man does something that I consider "feminine."
21. A man whose hobbies are cooking, sewing, and going to the ballet probably wouldn't appeal to me.
22. It is a bit embarrassing for a man to have a job that is usually filled by a woman.
23. Unless he was really desperate, I would probably advise a man to keep looking rather than accept a job as a secretary.
24. If I heard about a man who was a hairdresser and a gourmet cook, I might wonder how masculine he was.
*25. I think it's extremely good for a boy to be taught to cook, sew, clean, the house, and take care of younger children.
26. I might find it a little silly or embarrassing if a male friend of mine cried over a sad love scene in a movie.

*Items are reverse coded

Response Options:
7-point Likert scale
Very strongly disagree - 1
Very strongly agree - 7

Scoring Procedures

The summary scale score is computed as the average of the responses to all the items. Higher scores indicate more traditional attitudes toward male gender norms. Items 19 and 25 were reverse coded.

Original Citation

Thompson, E. H., & Pleck, J. H. (1986). The structure of male role norms. American Behavioral Scientist, 29(5), 531-543.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


Join the EMERGE Community

to get the latest updates on new measures and guidance for survey researchers