A study published in the online journal Injury Prevention says that men who feel inadequately macho are more prone to substance abuse, stress, assault and personal injury.
For their study, researchers asked 600 American men aged 18 to 50 to participate in a 2012 online survey on masculinity. The researchers believed that the more “masculine” that men saw themselves, the more they’d participate in stereotypically bad behaviors like jumping off high ledges, substance abuse, and other acts of ‘bro-ing out’ (our word, not theirs).
The study wanted to see if less masculine men played it safer. But researchers eventually realized that some men who considered themselves less masculine also experienced ‘male discrepancy stress.’ That is, these men also thought that everyone else saw them as inadequately masculine as well, which brought increased feelings of frustration, anger, low-self esteem and potentially injurious behaviors.
The results shows that men who considered themselves less masculine and who were more prone to discrepancy stress admitted to committing acts of violence or feeling more prone to do so. Interestingly, researchers also noted that men who felt less masculine but weren’t worried about it felt less likely to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The researchers concluded by saying, “These data suggest that efforts to reduce men’s risk of behavior likely to result in injury should, in part, focus on the means by which masculine socialization and acceptance of gender norms may induce distress in boys and men.” That is, the more we shame young boys, teenagers and men into feeling like they have to be “masculine”, the worse off they’ll be.
Listen to “Manly!” by the cast of Daria:
(featured image via Lee Morley)