A groundbreaking study with over 4,000 male participants challenges the widely debated notion that masculinity is intrinsically linked to negative behaviors, shedding light on the complex relationship between societal perceptions of masculinity and individual mental health. Published in the International Journal of Health Sciences, the research, led by John Barry, the co-founder of the Centre for Male Psychology, explores the evolving views on masculinity over the decades.
The study, conducted through a comprehensive online survey, included 2,023 men from the United Kingdom and 2,002 from Germany. A key element was the Positive Mindset Index, measuring mental positivity, and specific questions about masculinity perceptions. The findings challenge stereotypes, revealing that men who had a less negative view of masculinity reported higher levels of mental positivity, debunking the myth of masculinity’s inherent harm. The Positive Mindset Index was strongly influenced by men’s satisfaction with personal growth, with older men and those content with their health reporting higher mental positivity.
Notably, men who disagreed with negative statements about masculinity, such as hindering emotional expression, exhibited better mental outlooks, emphasizing the potential harm of using terms like “toxic masculinity.” The study indicates a generational shift in attitudes toward violence against women, with older men less likely to associate masculinity with violence.
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