If treating women equally from a moral standpoint wasn’t convincing enough for some men, hopefully, they will be convinced by a new study claiming that misogynistic behavior may lead to mental health problems.
The American Psychological Association conducted a meta-analysis of 78 research studies between 2003 and 2013 which involved over 19,000 participants. Researchers focused on the relationship between the participants’ mental health and their degree of conformity to 11 norms considered by experts to reflect the American society’s expectations of traditional masculinity. Among these norms, there is a prevalence of sexist norms such as power over women and playboy attitudes.
According to Dr. Y. Joel Wong, the lead author of the study which was published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, researchers wanted to determine the correlation between what it means in our society to be masculine and the mental health of men which followed those norms. Wong revealed that the more a man adheres to those specific norms of masculinity the poorer his mental health is as well as being less likely to seek counseling. Researchers also pointed out that their results differed depending on what specific norms the participants embodied.
Over the course of their extensive research, Wong, and his colleagues established that the masculinity norms tend to induce three outcomes: positive and negative mental health, as well as psychological help, seeking.
Among the 11 norms that were associated strongly with negative mental health involved, self-reliance, power over women and playboy behavior. The last two norms are linked with sexist attitudes. Researchers concluded that besides being social injustice, sexism can also have a detrimental effect on the mental health of men who hold such attitudes.
The primacy of work norm was not associated significantly with any of the outcomes of mental health established by the researchers. This suggests that work has a complex role in our lives, it can give meaning to some while for others it can be detrimental to their personal lives. Additionally, the researchers also found that the risk-taking norm was associated with both positive and negative states, suggesting that the behavior can have varying consequences.
What do you think about this study? To what masculinity norms do you adhere to?
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