Traditional Masculinity Ideology and Diagnostic Aversion Predict Symptom Expression in a Community Sample of Distressed Men

Abstract

Adherence to traditional masculinity ideology (TMI) is associated with a host of negative outcomes, including higher rates of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. However, relatively less is known about the mechanisms and contexts through which TMI affects the expression of psychological distress. In the current study, men’s aversion to being diagnosed with a mental health disorder was tested as a mediator and moderator to help clarify the relationship between TMI and symptom expression. A community sample of 72 U.S. men experiencing elevated psychological distress completed self-report questionnaires during a single session. Results demonstrated that diagnostic aversion mediated the positive association between TMI and internalizing symptoms. In addition, diagnostic aversion moderated the positive association between TMI and externalizing symptoms, such that this association was stronger among men who demonstrated higher levels of diagnostic aversion. Aversion to mental health diagnosis may be important in understanding how men who adhere to TMI manifest distress across diagnostic categories.

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Acknowledgments

Research reported in this manuscript was supported by an award to Michael E. Addis by the National Institute of Mental Health (R34MH073073).

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Jampel, J.D., Gazarian, D., Addis, M.E. et al. Traditional Masculinity Ideology and Diagnostic Aversion Predict Symptom Expression in a Community Sample of Distressed Men. Sex Roles 82, 704–715 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-019-01083-3

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Keywords

  • Sex role attitudes
  • Masculinity
  • Externalizing symptoms
  • Internalizing symptoms
  • Mental health stigma
  • Self-report