Male-Male Advising Relationships in Graduate Psychology:
A Diminishing Dyad
Christopher A. Sbaratta
David M. Tirpak
Lewis Z. Schlosser
Published online: 13 March 2015
Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015
Abstract In this article, we seek to advance the study of vo-
cational gender dynamics by exploring a profession in the
midst of a marked shift in gender composition – applied pro-
fessional psychology. Although this field has historically been
dominated by men, the ratio of men to women has drastically
shifted (Levant 2011; Willyard 2011). It is within this voca-
tional context that we examine the interplay between mascu-
linity and applied psychological training; specifically, within
the student-professional relationships formed by males in U.S.
graduate psychology programs. Towards this larger goal, we
present a review of existing literature. All studies included in
this review are based on U.S. samples unless otherwise noted.
We begin with a review of established masculine constructs,
and highlight research that has examined these among men
working or training within the field of mental health. Next, we
present research on student-professional relationships, paying
specific attention to studies on advising within applied psy-
chology programs. With this literature review in tow, we dis-
cuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of the all-
male advisory dyad; these considerations are inclusive to dual
theoretical conceptualizations of masculine identity (i.e., def-
icit model, positivistic model). We also addresses issues that
may be raised by multiple cultural identities within these re-
lationships (e.g., race, sexual orientation) with the support of
research related to intersectionality. Finally, implications for
training, as well as suggestions for future research are offered.
Among other conclusions, we assert that applied psychology
advisors, and their graduate programs more broadly, attend to
aspects of masculinity during training.
Early gender scholars, those publishing in the late 1960s and
during the 1970s, highlighted the minority status of women in
many professions, and emphasized how sex-typing within ac-
ademia helped create disparate gender representation across
occupations (See Holahan 1979 for a review). These
pioneering social scientists cast a spotlight on women’svoca-
tional choices and satisfaction, and took a specific interest in
the negative consequences for women whose vocational inter-
ests encroached on a historically male domain (e.g., law).
Associations were explored among gendered power dynam-
ics, career access, and vocational experiences (Epstein 1970).
This article reviews literature pertaining to masculinity and
applied professional psychology training in order to inform a
discussion on student-professional relationships formed by
males in U.S. graduate psychology programs; as such all stud-
ies cited were conducted in the U.S. unless otherwise noted.
Contemporary social scientists continue their study of oc-
cupational disparities, seeking to better explain the effects of
gender dynamics in an ever-changing vocational landscape.
C. A. Sbaratta (*)
New York City Correction Department, Applicant Investigation Unit,
75-20 Astoria Boulevard, Suite 310, East Elmhurst, NY 11370, USA
C. A. Sbaratta
D. M. Tirpak
Counseling and Psychological Services, Lehigh University,
36 University Drive, Johnson Hall, 4th floor, Bethlehem, PA 18015,
L. Z. Schlosser
Institute for Forensic Psychology, 5 Fir Court, Suite 2,
Oakland, NJ 07436, USA
Sex Roles (2015) 72:335–348