Recent research suggests that sexist men have an elevated risk of developing psychological problems because of their behavior.
A group of psychologists from Indiana University conducted a survey in which they reviewed medical records of 20,000 men from 2003 to 2013. Based on the findings, the participants who preferred having power over women and adopting playboy behavior were more likely to suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition later in life.
Also, these men were less likely to talk about their problems. In other words, they thought they didn’t need a doctor. The team analyzed 78 studies on mental health and masculinity involving participants between twelve and 65 years old, out of which most of them were men.
Furthermore, more than fifty percent of the participants were white men, whereas the other studies included Asian-Americans and African-Americans. Then, the scientists identified eleven criteria which were regarded as traditionally masculine, such as the primacy of work, the pursuit of status, playboy behavior, sexual promiscuity, dominance, risk-taking, emotional control, violence, desire to win, self-reliance, and power over women.
Based on these norms, the team tried to establish whether they were related somehow to the risk of mental health conditions. The findings revealed that sexist men who stuck to these criteria had a higher chance of experiencing stress, negative social functioning, substance abuse, body image issues, and depression.
Worse, these men were less likely to seek out help or any form of counseling to tackle those issues. Those most at risk were men who stuck on power over women, self-reliance, and playboy behavior.
According to Y. Joel Wong, lead author of the study, the results are not surprising because previous studies have shown that sexist men are more prone to experience these symptoms. Psychologists call this condition toxic masculinity, and it includes the eleven norms.
The problem is that this men’s behavior has a negative effect not just on them, but also on women and other people around them. Wong stresses that the study doesn’t aim to blame men or their abilities. Instead, it helped scientists understand the impact of these behaviors on the society.
Also, sexist men are difficult to study because they don’t seek out help. Scientists believe that these men can change their behaviors, although they acted based on the eleven criteria for a long time.
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