Pain, fear, and circumcision in boys' adolescent initiation ceremonies

Cross-Cultural Research Vol/Iss. 2017 Sage Published In Pages: 1-29
By Schlegel, Alice, Barry III, Herbert


There will be an association between harsher male initiation ceremonies and same-sex bonding


Same sex-bonding among the initiates increases as the initiation ceremony becomes more painful and fearful. Genital operations may establish a new bond when the initiates were not previously bonded.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Linear chi-square and chi-squareSupportedLinear chi-square p=0.007, chi-square p=.008UNKNOWNUNKNOWN

Related Hypotheses

Main AuthorHypothesis
Schlegel, AliceIn societies with ceremonies for one sex, girls' ceremonies (as opposed to boys) will be negatively associated with initiation prior to genital maturation, undergoing genital operation or experienceing same-sex bonding.
Whiting, John W.M.Exclusive mother-son sleeping and a post-partum sex taboo are positively associated with initiation ceremonies at puberty.
Barry III, HerbertSocieties in which the principal nonparental caretaker is an adult nonrelative and is predominantly the same sex as the child will be positvely associated with the occurrence of initiation ceremonies (138-139).
Barry III, HerbertSocieties in which there is a large sex difference in the degree to which certain traits (obedience, industry, and responsibility) are emphasized in childhood will be positively associated with the occurrence of initiation ceremonies (139).
Young, Frank W."The percentage of male and female initiation ceremonies showing some decline is greater in the modernized communities than in those of medium articulation--this supports hypothesis that articulation weakens solidarity which is related to degree of [sex role] dramatization" (130)