Personal Health

Science Just Found Out That Manly Bro Dudes Are More Likely to Be Depressed

It turns out that stereotypical masculinity is not super great for men.

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For every "masculinity so fragile" comment you’ve ever left on someone’s Facebook wall, there have been a ton of people (usually guys) who will jump in and say that there’s no problem with our current adherence to stereotypical masculinity. And now you can tell those people that science has proven that guys obsessed with traditional masculinity are more likely to have mental health issues. Go figure, right?

The study was led by Y. Joel Wong, an associate professor at the Indiana University Bloomington, who wanted to analyze how much men’s adherence to "masculine norms" affected their mental health. The team looked at 78 studies and a total of 19,453 participants to draw their conclusion. The final outcome was later published by the American Psychological Association in the Journal of Counseling Psychology and, not surprisingly, Wong said it was "not rocket science," aka yes, it turns out that stereotypical masculinity is not super great for men.

So what does the study mean by stereotypical masculinity? Well, according to the paper, this means men who were self-reliant, exerted their power over women, and acted like a "playboy," were "unfavorably, robustly and consistently related to mental health-related outcomes," like depression. More specifically, they found that the whole "playboy" thing and the need to dominate other women were, unsurprisingly, the "norms most closely associated with sexist attitudes."

Sadly, the study also found that men perpetuating toxic masculinity were also less likely to go get help for any resulting mental health problems, of which, it seems like they’re likely to have plenty of. The study also says those attitudes made heterosexual men they surveyed more likely to "struggle in their relationships with women, leading to poorer mental health." Wong says that can can also lead to isolation, and further their self-reliance, which is not sustainable because no one is an island.

Wong also said in a Eureka Alert release that "sexism is not merely a social injustice, but may also have a detrimental effect on the mental health of those who embrace such attitudes." So in general, not only does sexism affect other women, it also affects the men (and unfortunately and depressingly, other women) who perpetuate these ideas and behaviors. Here’s hoping those people are able to find their way out of self-reliance and into some kind of therapeutic work, so they can stop not only hurting other women, but also from ultimately hurting themselves in the process.

Lane Moore is senior features editor at The Frisky, as well as a standup comedian, musician and filmmaker. 

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