Men, masculinity and male gender role socialisation: implications for men's mental health and psychological help seeking behaviour

PhD Thesis

Sullivan, L. 2011. Men, masculinity and male gender role socialisation: implications for men's mental health and psychological help seeking behaviour. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Department of Applied Psychology
AuthorsSullivan, L.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDClinPsychol

The work comprises of three sections,
Section A: Literature review This section reviews men's underutilisation of professional health care services and brings together the extant literature on men's help seeking for psychological difficulties. This is discussed specifically in relation to theories of male gender role socialisation and male development.
Section B: Empirical Paper. Introduction: Men’s reluctance to access health care services has been under researched even though it has been identified as a potentially important predictor of poorer health outcomes among men. Male gender role socialisation and male development may be important in accounting for men’s underutilisation of mental health service in the UK.
Method: A cross-sectional online survey was used to administer standardised self-report measures that were subject to regression analysis. Five hundred and eighty-one men from the UK general population completed the survey and 434 participants formed the final regression model sample.
Results: Men who score higher on measures of traditional masculine ideology, normative alexithymia and fear of intimacy reported more negative attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help. Normative alexithymia accounted for the variance in help seeking previously observed by fear of intimacy during regression modelling. Sexuality and ethnicity also significantly accounted for a proportion of unique variance in men’s help seeking attitudes. People who had received previous support from a mental health professional showed more positive attitudes towards seeking psychological help.
Conclusions: Men’s attitudes towards seeking psychological help were closely related to traditional masculine ideology and normative alexithymia. A degree of content or construct overlap may exist between normative alexithymia and fear of intimacy in men. Limitations of this study and implications for future research are discussed.
Section C: Critical Review. This section provides critical appraisal and reflection on the study and research process. Personal learning is discussed alongside clinical implications and ideas for further research.

KeywordsMasculinity; Emotion; Intimacy; Gender role; Men’s help seeking; Mental health care
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Oct 2011
SubmittedJul 2011
Output statusUnpublished
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