Men who realize themselves as playboys, and as having power over ladies, are more prone to poor mental health than those who conform less to traditionally masculine norms, according to a new study.
The study, published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, also showed men who conform to masculine norms are less likely to seek help for psychological issues.
Researchers from Indiana University conducted a meta-analysis, which blends data regarding previously published studies to identify consistencies. They analysed around 80 papers with a total of 19,453 participants. The papers focused on the relationship between mental health issues and conformity to traditional male gender norms.
Traditional gender norms are a socially-constructed fixed of ideas that tell men and women how to behave.
The analyzes included in the meta-analysis used scales that rely on 11 dimensions of masculine norms.
The 11 dimensions are: win, emotional control, risk-taking, violence, dominance, pursuing of playboy behaviour, self-reliance, primacy of project, power over ladies, disdain for homosexuals and pursuing of status.
The analyzes measured which of these were associated with positive or negative mental health issues and psychological assistance seeking.
Nine of the dimensions were significantly associated with worse mental health issues, in regions such as depression, nervousnes and social well-being.
Researchers find self-reliance, pursuing of playboy behaviour and power over ladies were traits systematically associated with worse mental health.
Some Australian researchers not involved in the study have cautioned it adopts an outdated and simplified approach to gender norms that fails to address the intricacies of manlines especially experiences of men of diverse sex directions, culture or ethnic backgrounds.
Its an idea and panorama of examining men and mens lives that I think is problematic for a lot of reasons, mentioned Dr Jo River, a researcher in mens health and suicide prevention from the University of Sydney.
The key thing is that mens attitudes of ideals of manlines dont tell us about the power relationships among men and manliness, and how this impacts on the mental health outcomes for some humen, in particular how humen from diverse backgrounds are impacted by those men who choose to personify these dominant ideals of masculinity.
Meanwhile, Raewyn Connell, professor in social sciences and manlines from the University of Sydney, “re saying it” would be unwise to draw practical conclusions from the research, as correlation does not mean causation.
The statistical technique of meta-analysis has value for some purposes, but always adds further difficulties of interpreting. To think this report could tell us anything clear and substantial about humen in general is a major stretching, mentioned Professor Connell.
The scales of manlines, supposed to be precise measures of conformity to masculine norms, are based on a very simplified, indeed outdated, concept of role norms.
When quantitative analyzes have solid informed about what people actually do, they are more valuable. Actually talking to humen about their help-seeking behaviour can be very informative. But in this report, even this behaviour is treated at situations of extreme degree of abstraction, she said.
However, Associate Professor in Sociology from the University of Wollongong, Michael Flood, mentioned many studies that followed humen over a long period find those with a stronger endorsement of manlines tends to take greater perils with their own health and show poorer, overall health behaviours than other men.
We know that key elements of traditional manlines such as stoicism, self-reliance and dominance – shape mens health, mentioned Associate Professor Flood.
Theres consistent proof that when humen take on those traits and emphasise those traits in themselves, they prove poorer mental health issues and are also less likely to seek help when their physical and psychological health is poor.
Associate Professor Flood added not all traits of traditional manlines had a negative affect on mens health. He mentioned a focus on fitness and exercise was often a positive and protective outcome for men who endorsed these traits.
What this study tells us, yet again, is that we need social and cultural solutions to mens health and that we have to address the broader constructions of manhood that shape mens lives.
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