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Masculinity a barrier to good health? “yes” says ASA

August 11th, 2009 Comments off

A new study to be released by the American Sociological Association at their annual conference, demonstrates that holding rigid attitudes about masculinity had a negative impact on men obtaining appropriate preventative health care. 

An article on EurekAlert – the news site for the American Association for the Advancement of Science – describes the research:

Middle-aged men who strongly idealize masculinity are almost 50 percent less likely than other men to seek preventative healthcare services, according to a study—the first population-based analysis of men’s masculinity beliefs and preventative healthcare compliance—to be presented at the 104th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

The research actually has a Wisconsin connection:

Using a sample of 1,000 middle-aged men drawn from responses to the 2004 wave of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, the researchers reviewed the respondents’ masculinity beliefs, socioeconomic status (as measured by education and occupational status) and receipt of three commonly recommended annual healthcare procedures for middle-aged men: a complete exam/physical, flu shot and a prostate examination. The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study is a large-scale study of the education, careers, health and aging of adolescent males and females who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. The study was administered again in 1964, 1975, 1992 and 2004.

As we’ve contended all along, examining issues of violence and gender is important for men not just because A) we’re statistically perpetrating the vast majority of these crimes, B) we know that women around us are being negatively impacted by misogynist attitudes and the violence associated with it, and C) we ourselves are negatively impacted by perpetuating gender stereotypes which de-value women and simultaneously cause us to shun our own humanness – including the vulnerability of our bodies. Still, I’m thankful for the heavy-duty numbers-crunching scientific types who put many hours in to come up with the evidence that supports this; I’m also thankful to Mr. Laxman Belbase of Men Engage-Asia who posted the link to this article in the Men Against Violence listserv.

Article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-08/asa-mmb080409.php

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