Gender-Atypical Mental Illness as Male Gender Threat

Kenneth S. Michniewicz, Jennifer K. Bosson, Joshua G. Lenes, Jason Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examined whether men view gender-atypical (i.e., feminine) psychological disorders as threats to their gender status. Men and women (N = 355) rated their expectations of gender status loss, feelings of distress, and help-seeking intentions in response to 10 different stereotypically masculine and feminine psychological disorders. Men as compared to women expected greater gender status loss for, and reported more distress to, gender-atypical versus gender-typical disorders. Expectations of gender status loss partially mediated the link between participant gender and distress at the thought of gender-atypical disorders. These findings suggest that feminine disorders pose more powerful gender status threats for men than masculine disorders do and that men’s expectations of gender status loss for feminine disorders drive their negative reactions to these mental illnesses. The discussion emphasizes the importance of considering the gender-typicality of disorders, and the implications of these findings for clinical interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-317
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Men's Health
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • gender role violation
  • gender threat
  • precarious manhood
  • psychological disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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