The problem of masculinity for male health


  • Kieran Geary Cork Institute of Technology
  • Maurice Murphy Cork Institute of Technology


salud masculina, masculinidad, búsqueda masculina de ayuda


Men’s health has historically received little attention in terms of consultation, planning, strategy development or project implementation, but in recent years there has been an increased focus on gender in the context of men’s health. Whilst in the past the focus on gender and health in Ireland has tended to be synonymous with women’s health, the significance of gendered health practices (particularly gendered patterns of help-seeking) have more recently come to the forefront in the context of men. Men’s reluctance to seek help and use health services is a concern across most Western cultures. Some commentary has suggested that men are victims of their own behaviour and the concept of masculinity. When forming a male-specific policy, health service providers and policy makers need to take men’s selfmonitoring behaviour into account, when attempting to engage men within the health system. This paper forms part of a wider study into men’s health and focuses on masculinity as a potential problem in the socialisation of men.


Download data is not yet available.


Addis, M. E., & Cohane, G. H. (2005). Social scientific paradigms of masculinity and their implications for research and practise in men’s health. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 61(6), 633-647.

Addis, M. E., & Mahalik, J. R. (2003). Men, masculinity, and the contexts of help seeking. American Psychologist, 58(1), 5-14.

Brody, L. R. (2000). The socialization of gender differences in emotional expression: display rules, infant temperament, and differentiation. In A. H. Fischer (Ed.), Gender and emotion: social psychological perspectives (pp. 24-47). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Cialdini, R. B. (1993). Influence: science and practice. 3rd ed. New York: Harper Collins.

Cialdini, R. B., & Trost, M. R. (1998). Social influence: social norms, conformity, and compliance. In D. Gilbert, S. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of Social Psychology (pp. 151-192). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Connell, R. W. (2005). Globalization, imperialism, and masculinities. In M. Kimmel, J. Hearn, & R. W. Connell (Eds.), Handbook of studies on men & masculinities (pp. 71-89). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Connell, R. W. (1987). Gender and power: society, the person, and sexual politics. Palo alto, CA: Stanford University Press.

Cournoyer, R. J., & Mahalik, J. R. (1995). Cross-sectional study of gender role conflict examining college-aged and middle-aged men. Journal of Counselling Psychology, 42(1), 11-19.

Courtenay, W. H. (2000). Constructions of masculinity and their influence on men’s well-being: a theory of gender and health. Social Science & Medicine, 50(10), 1385-1401.

Courtenay, W. H. (2000). Engendering health: a social constructionist examination of men’s health beliefs and behaviours. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 1(1), 4-15.

Elliot, H., & Popay, J. (2000). How are policy makers using evidence? Models of research utilisation and local NHS policy making. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 54(6), 461-468.

Evans, J., Frank, B., Oliffe, J., & Gregory, D. (2011). Health, Illness, Men and Masculinities (HIMM): a theoretical framework for understanding men and their health. Journal of Men’s Health, 8(1), 7-15.

Frank, B. (1997). Masculinity meets postmodernism: theorizing the “man-made” man. Canadian Folklore Canadien, 19(1), 15-33.

Frank, B. (1993). The “new men’s studies” and feminism: promise or danger? In T. Haddad (Ed.), Men and masculinities: a critical anthology (pp. 333-343). Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Galdas, P., Cheater, F., & Marshall, P. (2005). Men and health help-seeking behaviour: Literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 49(6), 616-623.

Gibson, M., & Denner, B. (2000). Men’s health report 2000: the MAN model. Pathways to men’s health. Daylesford, VI, Australia: Centre for Advancement of Men’s Health.

Good, G., Robertson, J., O’Neil, J., Fitzgerald, L., Stevens, M., Debord, L., Bartles, K., & Bravermand, D. (1995). Male gender role conflict: psychometric issues and relations to psychological distress. Journal of Counselling Psychology, 42(1), 3-10.

Gregory, A., Lowy, M., & Zwar, N., (2006). Men’s health and wellbeing: taking up the challenge in Australia. Medical Journal of Australia, 185(8), 411.

Hamilton, M. (2006). What men don’t talk about. London: Penguin.

Hodgetts, D., & Chamberlain, K. (2002). The problem with men: working-class men making sense of men’s health on television. Journal of Health Psychology, 7(3), 269-283.

Johnston, L., Huggard, P., & Goodyear-Smith, F. A. (2008). Men’s health and the health of the nation. New Zealand Medical Journal, 121(1287), 69-76.

Johnston, C., & Morrison, T. (2007). The presentation of masculinity in everyday life: contextual variations in the masculine behaviour of young Irish men. Sex Roles, 57(9), 661-674.

Kierans, C., Robertson, S., & Mair, M. D. (2007). Formal health services in informal settings: findings from the Preston Men’s Health Project. Journal of Men’s Health and Gender, 4(4), 440-447.

Kimmel, M. (1994). Masculinity as homophobia: fear, shame and silence in the construction of gender identity. In H. Brod & M. Kaufman (Eds.), Theorizing masculinities (pp. 119-141). London: Sage.

Kindlon, D., Thompson, M., & Barker, T. (2000). Raising cain: protecting the emotional life of boys. New York: Random House.

Kraemer, S. (2000). The fragile male. British Medical Journal, 321(7276), 1609-1612.

Lee, C., & Owens, R. G. (2002). Issues for a psychology of men’s health. Journal of Health Psychology, 7(3), 209-217.

Levant, R., & Pollack, W. (1995). A new psychology of men. New York: Basic Books.

Lumb, P. (2003). Why is men’s health and well-being policy not implemented in Australia? International Journal of Men’s Health, 2(1), 73-88.

Mahalik, J. (1999). Incorporating a gender role strain perspective in assessing and treating men’s cognitive distortions. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 30(4), 333-340.

Mahalik, J., Burns, S., & Syzdek, M. (2007). Masculinity and perceived normative health behaviours as predictors of men's health behaviours. Social Science and Medicine, 64(11), 2201-2209.

Mansfield, A. K., Addis, M. E., & Mahalik, J. R. (2003). Why won’t he go to the doctor?: the psychology of men’s help seeking. International Journal of Men’s Health, 2 (2), 93-109.

McClure, G. M. G. (2000). Changes in suicide in England and Wales, 1960-1997. British Journal of Psychiatry, 176(1), 64-67.

McEvoy, R., & Richardson, N. (2004). Men’s Health in Ireland. Belfast: The Men’s Health Forum in Ireland.

Morgan, K., McGee, H., Watson, D., Perry, I., Barry, M., Shelley, E., Harrington, J., Molcho, M., Layte, R., Tully, N., van Lente, E., Ward, M, Lutomski, J., Conroy, R., & Brugha, R. (2008). SLAN 2007: survey of lifestyle, attitudes & nutrition in Ireland: main report. Dublin: Department of Health and Children.

Peate, I. (2004). Men’s attitudes towards health and the implications for nursing care. British Journal of Nursing, 13(9), 540-545.

Perkins, H. (2003). The social norms approach to preventing school and college age substance abuse: a handbook for educators, counsellors, and clinicians. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Petersen, A. (1998). Unmasking the masculine: “men” and “identify” in a sceptical age. London: Sage.

Pollack, W. (1995). No man is an island: toward a new psychoanalytic psychology of men. In R. F. Levant, & W. Pollack (Eds.), A new psychology of men (pp. 33-67). New York: Basic Books.

Richardson, N. (2004). Getting inside men’s health. Kilkenny, Ireland: Health Promotion DepartmentSouth Eastern Health Board.

Richardson, N., & Smith, J. (2011). National men’s health policies in Ireland and Australia: what are the challenges associated with transitioning from development to implementation? Public Health, 125(7), 424-432.

Richardson, N., & Carroll, P. (2008). National men’s health policy 2008-2013: working with men in Ireland to achieve optimum health and wellbeing. Dublin: Department of Health and Children.

Richardson, N., & Carroll, P. (2009). Getting men’s health onto a policy agenda - charting the development of a National Men’s Health Policy in Ireland. American Journal of Men’s Health, 6(2), 105-113.

Rickwood, D., Deane, F., Wilson, C., & Ciarrochi, J. (2005). Young people’s help-seeking for mental health problems. Australian e-Journal for the Advancement in Mental Health, 4(3), 1-34.

Robertson, S. (2003). Men managing health. Men’s Health Journal, 2(4), 111-113.

Robertson, S. (2006). I’ve been like a coiled spring this last week: embodied masculinity and health. Sociology of Health and Illness, 28(4), 433-456.

Rossi, J. S. (1992). Stages of change for 15 health risk behaviours in an HMO population. Paper presented at the 13th Annual Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioural Medicine. 15-18 March 1992. New York.

Saltonstall, R. (1993). Healthy bodies, social bodies: men’s and women’s concepts and practices of health in everyday life. Social Science and Medicine, 36(1), 7-14.

Saracci, R. (1997). The World Health Organisation needs to reconsider its definition of health. British Medical Journal, 314(7091), 1409-1410.

Seymour-Smith, S., Wetherell, M., & Phoenix, A. (2002). “My wife ordered me to come!”: a discursive analysis of doctors’ and nurses’ accounts of men’s use of General Practitioners. Journal of Health Psychology, 7(3), 253-267.

Shepard, D. (2002). A negative state of mind: patterns of depressive symptoms among men with high gender role conflict. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 3(1), 3-8.

Smith, J. (2007). Addressing men’s health policy concerns in Australia: What can be done? Australia and New Zealand Health Policy, 4(20), doi:10.1186/1743-8462-4-20.

Smith, J. A., Braunack-Mayer, A., & Wittert, G. (2006). What do we know about men’s help-seeking and health service use? Medical Journal of Australia, 184(2), 81-83.

Steel, Z., McDonald, R., Silove. D., Bauman, A., Sandford, P., Herron, J., & Minas, I. H. (2006). Pathways to the first contact with specialist mental health care. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 40(4), 347-354.

Taylor, C., Stewart, A., & Parker, R. (1998). Machismo as the barrier to health promotion in Australian males. In T. Laws (Ed.), Promoting men’s health: an essential book for nurses (pp. 15-30). Melbourne: Ausmed.

West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender & Society, 1(2), 125-151.

Wetherell, M., & Edley, N. (1999). Negotiating hegemonic masculinity: imaginary positions and psychodiscursive practices. Feminism & Psychology, 9(3), 335-356.

White, A. K., & Cash, C. (2004). The state of men’s health in Western Europe. Journal of Men’s Health and Gender, 1(1), 60-66.

White, A. K., & Johnson, M. (2000). Men making sense of their chest pain - niggles, doubts and denials. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 9(4), 534-541.




How to Cite

Geary, K. ., & Murphy, M. (2015). The problem of masculinity for male health. Responsibility and Sustainability, 3(3), 59–66. Retrieved from