Sexism, Traditional Masculine Norms May Be Harmful To Men’s Mental Health: Study

Posted: Nov 21 2016, 9:58pm CST | by , Updated: Nov 22 2016, 9:00pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Sexism, Traditional Masculine Norms may be Harmful for Men’s Mental Health: Study
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Men who adhere to masculine norms are also less likely to seek treatment.

Sexism is bad for women, but now it turns out that it is bad for men too.

Men who behave like promiscuous playboys or feel powerful over women are more likely to have mental health problems than men who less adhere to traditional masculine norms, a new study suggests.

“In general, individuals who conformed strongly to masculine norms tended to have poorer mental health and less favorable attitudes toward seeking psychological help, although results differed dependisaing on specific types of masculine norms.” Lead author Joel Wong, professor of counseling psychology at Indiana University Bloomington said.

Researchers have reached the conclusion after reviewing the results of more than 70 studies involving over 19,000 male participants. All of those studies were focused on men’s mental health and conformity to traditional masculine norms. 

In the latest reveiw, researchers specifically looked at 11 behaviors that strongly reflect society’s masculine ideology, including dominance, self-reliance, risk-taking, sexual promiscuity and power over women.

Researchers found that three norms or traits have almost consistenly caused mental health problems in men and they were self-reliance, pursuit of sexual promiscuity and feeling power over women. 

 “The masculine norms of playboy and power over women are the norms most closely associated with sexist attitudes,” said Wong. “The robust association between conformity to these two norms and negative mental health-related outcomes underscores the idea that sexism is not merely a social injustice, but may also have a detrimental effect on the mental health of those who embrace such attitudes.”

The more the men conformed to those masculine norms, the poorer their health was. Moreover, men who strongly adhered to masculine norms were also less likely to seek help or mental health treatment.

“Men who have trouble asking for directions when they’ve lost, that’s a classic example of self-reliance.” Wong said.

Almost all traditional masculine behaviors were associated with mental health related outcomes. However, researchers were unable to find any significant effects of a dimension called primacy of work or considering your job most important. 

“Primacy of work was not significantly associated with any of the mental health-related outcomes," said Wong. "Perhaps this is a reflection of the complexity of work and its implications for well-being. An excessive focus on work can be harmful to one's health and interpersonal relationships, but work is also a source of meaning for many individuals.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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