Academic journal article Culture, Society and Masculinities

Masculinity in Post-Soviet Ukraine: An Exploratory Factor Analysis

Academic journal article Culture, Society and Masculinities

Masculinity in Post-Soviet Ukraine: An Exploratory Factor Analysis

Article excerpt


This study represents a collaboration between Western and Ukrainian researchers interested in generating a structural model of masculinity in Ukrainian culture. Using the Multicultural Masculinity Ideology Scale (Doss & Hopkins, 1998) and exploratory factor analysis, we explored the factor structure of a sample of Ukrainian men (N = 187). Data was obtained from four public universities in two large cities in Ukraine. Principle components analysis with oblique rotation revealed four components: Sexuality/Prosperity, Stoic Protector, Competitive Perseverance, and Reserved Sexuality. Sexuality/Prosperity and Reserved Sexuality resembled components found in Russia, with the former demonstrating the most favorable psychometric properties. Stoic Protector and Competitive Perseverance appeared to be unique, though with weaker evidence of validity and reliability. Implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.


The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and all of the former Soviet republics and satellite states have since declared their independence. Travel restrictions and visa requirements typical of the Soviet era have been lifted, opening up new destinations and new opportunities for study. Despite the historic change in the political climate, very little social science research has appeared in Western journals from any of the former Soviet republics. Especially remarkable is an absence of any quantitative empirical research investigating the male role in Ukraine. Research in this region and on this population can provide a number of benefits. First, it enhances cross-cultural understanding of the variable nature of the male role in general. Second, it may stimulate further research in a set of attitudes and beliefs about the male role which likely has a significant impact on the social and emotional health of Ukrainian men, during an era of historic transition.


After the collapse of communism, an unprecedented decline in population began in Ukraine. Between 1989 and 2001, there was a precipitous drop from 52 million to 49.3 million. This trend has not significantly slowed and as of 2009, the population is currently estimated at 45.6 (State Statistics Committee of Ukraine, n.d.) due to a wide variety of health concerns. Chief among them are HIV/ AIDS and tuberculosis (see Feshbach & Galvin, 2005). This is a net loss of 6.4 million people since 1989, which is roughly two and a half times the population of Ukraine's largest city, Kiev. Population decline however is a complex phenomenon with various links to public health. Jarosewich (1997) suggests that in an unstable economy, couples may be unable to support more than one child. Contributing factors may include an ill spouse or aging parents. Men's health problems seem particularly relevant. For example, fertility rates among men are lower than previous generations, and may be indicators of the enduring legacy of Chernobyl (Jarosewich). Lifestyle choices may also be problematic since 20% of men in Ukraine abuse alcohol (Nordstrom, 2007). Furthermore, male deaths exceed female deaths by 6:1 because of a post-communist rise in violent death (i.e., drowning, murder, and accident) and stress related diseases such as stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure (Jarosewich; McKee & Shkolnikov, 2001). Suicide among men in the military is the leading cause of death (Nordstrom, 2007). In the general population, male suicides outnumber female suicides by approximately five to one (Kryzhanovskaya & Pilyagina, 1999). According to Nordstrom (2007) the Ministry of Public Health has responded by making the mental health of Ukrainian citizens a top priority and establishing a graduate program in public health in Kiev. Issues of reproductive and sexual health in Ukraine are also on the United Nation agenda. …

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