'It's caveman stuff, but that is to a certain extent how guys still operate': men's accounts of masculinity and help seeking

Soc Sci Med. 2005 Aug;61(3):503-16. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.12.008. Epub 2005 Feb 16.


It is often assumed that men are reluctant to seek medical care. However, despite growing interest in masculinity and men's health, few studies have focussed on men's experiences of consultation in relation to their constructions of masculinity. Those that have are largely based on men with diseases of the male body (testicular and prostate cancer) or those which have been stereotyped as male (coronary heart disease). This paper presents discussions and experiences of help seeking and its relation to, and implications for, the practice of masculinity amongst a diversity of men in Scotland, as articulated in focus group discussions. The discussions did indeed suggest a widespread endorsement of a 'hegemonic' view that men 'should' be reluctant to seek help, particularly amongst younger men. However, they also included instances which questioned or went against this apparent reluctance to seek help. These were themselves linked with masculinity: help seeking was more quickly embraced when it was perceived as a means to preserve or restore another, more valued, enactment of masculinity (e.g. working as a fire-fighter, or maintaining sexual performance or function). Few other studies have emphasised how men negotiate deviations from the hegemonic view of help-seeking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Communication
  • Focus Groups
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Men / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Narration
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Scotland
  • Sex Factors
  • Stereotyping*