Theories and Approach

Social Ecological Model

The social ecological model, advocated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a model for primary prevention of sexual assault, recognizes that individuals do not exist in isolation. Instead, they exist within complex interplays of contextual factors, both micro and macro, that the model describes as “individual, relationship, community, and societal” (see figure below).


MCSR’s comprehensive Healthy Masculinity Action Project (HMAP) – consisting of national and local events, youth programming, public education campaigns, and training and technical assistance – addresses all the different levels of the ecological model. Here is one example of how HMAP could influence the four levels:

1.      INDIVIDUAL: Men of Strength (MOST) Club facilitators influence individual MOST Club members by helping them build their own healthy definitions of masculinity.

2.      RELATIONSHIP: The members, in turn, address the relationship level by positively influencing other students, teachers, and family though their daily interactions.

3.      COMMUNITY: MOST Clubs and the organization that sponsors them implement a Community Strength Project – such as a Healthy Masculinity Campus Conversation or Town Hall – and also launches a Where Do You Stand? public education campaign in their schools and city.

4.      SOCIETAL: MOST Club members collaborate with other student groups to review and provide feedback regarding their state’s sexual assault and dating violence policies for schools, influencing norms at the societal level.

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