Exploring Men's Coping With Psychological Distress Within the Context of Conforming to Masculine Role Norms
Moodley, K. G. (2013). Exploring Men’s Coping With Psychological Distress Within the Context of Conforming to Masculine Role Norms (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8469
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8469
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships among masculine and coping variables with psychological distress. It also identified the extent to which masculine variables and coping styles contributed to psychological distress, in a sample of New Zealand men. The study sample comprised of 80 adult men, recruited from tertiary and community organisations in Hamilton. Participants were required to read and complete a questionnaire comprising of a series of questions relating to adherence to masculine gender role norms, gender role conflict, coping styles and recent levels of anxiety, stress and depressive symptoms. The Conformity to Masculine Role Norms Inventory and the Gender Role Conflict Scale were used to assess the men’s degree of conformity to socialised masculine ideals, and the degree to which they experienced conflict, as a result of their gendered role. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale was used to measure psychological distress, the outcome variable. Coping style was assessed using the Brief COPE Scale. The main findings were that some aspects of conformity to masculinity, such as the strict adherence to norms of Emotional Control and Self-Reliance were associated with higher levels of psychological distress, Emotional Control (r=.279, p=.008) and Self-Reliance (r=.395, p <.01). Some of the men appear also to struggle to meet socialised masculine ideals associated with restrictive emotional expressiveness, as indicated by a significant association between Restrictive Emotionality and psychological distress, r=.338, P= <.01. The findings also indicated that Avoidant Coping was positively associated with psychological distress (r=.235, p=.02) in contrast to an inverse association between Problem Solving Coping and psychological distress (Problem Solving Coping r=-.471, p<.01), highlighting the benefits of using active, direct coping strategies to mitigate the effects of psychological distress. Results of the multiple regression indicated that coping styles in comparison to the gender variables accounted for more than half of the variance of the outcome variable (psychological distress), and was a better predictor of psychological distress in the sample of men. Furthermore, the gender variables helped to explain psychological distress over and above what was explained by coping strategies alone. These findings have highlighted that masculine gender role may be inextricable linked to the way men cope with psychological distress. It should therefore be considered together with coping styles in future studies examining psychological distress. Implications of these findings for the development of effective clinical interventions, and directions for future research were also discussed.
University of Waikato
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