A study has found that men who think they are less masculine than other men, according to society's traditional gender norms, and are stressed about it may be more prone to violence. They apparently more likely to commit acts of violence compared to men who feel comfortable with their masculinity, the study found.
For the study, a team or researchers recruited 600 men who were between ages 18 and 50 through an online data collection site. The men were asked about their perceptions of themselves with regard to gender roles. The researchers then evaluated whether those men who were experiencing psychological stress believed that others perceived them to be less masculine. For these stressed men, the study team also looked to see if this stress showed itself in risky or violent behavior.
Men who scored high on both gender role discrepancy and its associated stress reported rates of assaults that were 348% higher than men who were low on discrepancy stress.
This finding is an association, there is no evidence it means that all men who feel less masculine will become violent. There is no single factor that will entirely explain the behavior or be the cause for it."Violent behavior may result when a man believes that others perceive him to be less masculine and then feels stressed about that. The researchers called this "masculine discrepancy stress."
In general, men tend to be at a higher risk of poor health and injury, partly because they are more likely to engage in riskier behaviors than women do. Compared to women, men have higher rates of substance use, binge drinking, reckless and aggressive driving, carrying of weapons, and violence. One reason for this unhealthy risk taking behavior may be related to masculine discrepancy stress, according to the study.
The research was conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Georgia. The study was published in the journal Injury Prevention.