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Male violence linked to masculinity problems

Wednesday August 26th, 2015

Men who are prone to violence may benefit from stress management to tackle their problems with masculinity, researchers said yesterday.

The new research, in the journal Injury Prevention, shows that men who do not feel they live up to traditional masculine gender norms may be more prone to violence.

The researchers, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, set out to "understand and ultimately prevent injury and behavioural health outcomes associated with masculinity".

They focused on the influence of "masculine discrepancy stress", that is, the stress that occurs when men perceive themselves as falling short of the traditional gender norms. This form of stress was measured alongside rates of stereotypically masculine behaviours outlined by the researchers as including substance use, risk taking and violence.

The team recruited 600 men online who completed surveys on self-perceptions of gender role discrepancy and consequent discrepancy stress, substance use/abuse, drink-driving, and violent assaults.

Analysis indicated that "men high on gender role discrepancy and attendant discrepancy stress reported significantly more assaults with a weapon and assaults causing injury". However, there was no link with drug or alcohol abuse.

Researcher Dr Dennis Reidy said yesterday: "This research indicates that, while highly masculine men are at greater risk of violence, less masculine men that experience discrepancy stress are equally at risk for violence.

"Therefore, preventing stress in some men about being perceived as insufficiently masculine may also prevent violence and injury."

He added: "Men who considered themselves less masculine than the average male, and experienced discrepancy stress, committed more violent assaults with a weapon and resulting in injury.

"There was no association between discrepancy stress and average daily use of alcohol or drugs."

Reidy, D. E. et al. Masculine discrepancy stress, substance use, assault and injury in a survey of US men. Injury Prevention 26 August 2015 doi 10.1136/injuryprev-2015-042599 [abstract]

Tags: Men's Health | Mental Health | North America

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