Study Links Manliness to Depression in Men

Conforming to certain masculine norms plays out negatively in many men
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2016 12:05 PM CST
A man walks on the beach on Sunday, May 10, 2015, in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.   (Charles Slate/The Sun News via AP)

(Newser) – Being sexist results in a double whammy on men's mental health, new research suggests. When men strongly conform to social masculine norms, they're more likely to suffer from ailments such as depression—and the more they cling to these norms, the less likely they are to seek help for those mental health problems. So find researchers with the American Psychological Association, who've published a meta analysis in the Journal of Counseling Psychology. Reviewing nearly 20,000 participants involved in more than 78 research samples, the researchers found a link between mental health and conformity to 11 norms, including the desire to win, violence, the need for emotional control, and risk-taking.

Three norms in particular—self reliance, sexual promiscuity, and power over women—had a significantly strong link to negative mental health in men, reports New York magazine. "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 lead researcher says in a Eureka Alert news release. A post at Popular Science notes the gray area involved in some of the norms: "It's not hard to see the appeal of being self-reliant, for example," but the problem is that if men put too much emphasis on this for fear of looking weak then they won't seek help in times of genuine trouble. (Boys who shun hyper-masculinity appear happier, too.)

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