Barriers to help-seeking by men: a review of sociocultural and clinical literature with particular reference to depression

J Affect Disord. 2002 Sep;71(1-3):1-9. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(01)00379-2.


Consultation rates and help-seeking patterns in men are consistently lower than in women, especially in the case of emotional problems and depressive symptoms. Empirical evidence shows that low treatment rates for men cannot be explained by better health, but must be attributed to a discrepancy between perception of need and help-seeking behavior. It is argued that social norms of traditional masculinity make help-seeking more difficult because of the inhibition of emotional expressiveness influencing symptom perception of depression. Other medical and social factors which produce further barriers to help-seeking are also examined. Lines of future research are proposed to investigate the links between changing masculinity and its impact on expressiveness and on the occurrence and presentation of depressive symptoms in men.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Conditions*