Washington Post: 'Sexist men have psychological problems'

November 29, 2016

Men who buy into sexist norms also are harmed by it, according to a comprehensive analysis published by the Journal of Counseling Psychology. Both the Washington Post and Smithsonian magazine turned to Clark Psychology Professor Michael E. Addis, an expert on men's mental health and author of the book "Invisible Men: Men’s Inner Lives and the Consequences of Silence," to weigh in on the meta-analysis of nearly 80 studies over 11 years.

Here, an excerpt from the Post:

"The new meta-analysis, which was published Monday in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, synthesized studies on masculinity and mental health gathered between 2003 and 2013. The participants ranged in age from 12 to over 65, and the vast majority were men. ...

"Researchers then identified 11 norms considered to be 'traditionally masculine' — desire to win, need for emotional control, risk-taking, violence, dominance, sexual promiscuity or playboy behavior, self-reliance, primacy of work, power over women, disdain for homosexuality and pursuit of status — and looked to see whether they were associated with particular mental health outcomes.

"In general, the men who stuck more strongly to these norms were more likely to experience problems such as depression, stress, body image issues, substance abuse and negative social functioning. They were also less likely to turn to counseling to help deal with those problems. The effect was particularly strong for men who emphasized playboy behavior, power over women and self-reliance. ...

"Michael Addis, a research psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts and author of the book 'Invisible Men: Men’s Inner Lives and the Consequences of Silence,' told Smithsonian that wanting to be self-reliant and in control of their emotions might also be what makes men less likely to seek treatment for their mental health problems.

" 'I think this has been a long time coming,' Addis said of the research. He noted that one of the reasons masculinity's 'toxic' effects aren't well known might be that few men seek treatment from psychologists — making them harder to study."