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Science Confirmed: Sexism Harmful to Men's Mental Health

Nov 24, 2016 08:22 AM EST

A new study revealed that men who tend to view themselves as superior to women are more likely to develop psychological problems than men who conforms less to the traditional norms of masculinity.

The study, published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, showed that men who strongly conforms to 11 norms, which are generally considered by experts as the reflection of what society expect of traditional masculinity, may experience poorer mental health.

"In general, individuals who conformed strongly to masculine norms tended to have poorer mental health and less favorable attitudes toward seeking psychological help, although the results differed depending on specific types of masculine norms," explained lead author Y. Joel Wong, PhD, of Indiana University Bloomington, in a press release.

The 11 norms that were used in the study include desire to win, need for emotional control, risk-taking, violence, dominance, sexual promiscuity, self-reliance, primacy of work, power over women, disdain in homosexuality and pursuit of status.

For the study, the researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 78 research samples involving 19,453 participants. These research samples focused on the relationship between mental health and the conformity to the 11 norms. The researchers focused on three broad types of mental health outcomes, which include negative mental health, positive mental health and psychological help seeking. Negative mental health outcome may include depression, while positive mental health outcome may indicate life satisfaction.

The researchers found that men who have strong conformity with self-reliance, sexual promiscuity and power over women are more likely to develop negative mental health outcome. Additionally, the researchers discovered men who are likely to develop negative mental health due to strong conformity to the 11 norms are also less likely to speak about their condition and seek mental health treatment.

Sexual promiscuity and power over women are two of the most closely associated to sexism. This suggests that sexism is not merely a social injustice anymore, but can be a risk factor for negative mental health outcome.

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