The experience of psychological distress and mental health help-seeking in the context of masculinity

Irvanipour, Zuleika (2022) The experience of psychological distress and mental health help-seeking in the context of masculinity. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Background: Research suggests that men experience psychological distress as reflected in high levels of male suicide globally, however, there are low levels of help-seeking, and the construct of masculinity has been cited as a possible explanation for this barrier to help-seek.

Aim: This research portfolio aimed to further the understanding of men’s experience of psychological distress, specifically depression and stress, and explore if there is a role masculinity has on help-seeking.

Design: Two main research papers are provided in this portfolio, a systematic review which thematically synthesises the most recent findings on male experiences of depression and help-seeking, and a qualitative photo-elicitation empirical study that tries to understand the experiences of stress and help-seeking among young men in the UK, and explores the role of hegemonic masculinity, using discourse analysis to synthesise the dataset. These two main studies are presented alongside an introduction, bridging section, extended methodology and overall discussion.

Findings: The systematic review identified five themes; ‘recognising, understanding and communicating depression’, ‘masculinity and help-seeking’, ‘male views of treatment’, ‘masculinity and meaning making from depression’, and ‘impact of masculinity on coping’. The empirical study identified five interpretive repertoires; ‘stress as unchangeable and unmanageable’, ‘stress reflected in and out of self’, ‘powerful and powerless against stress’, ’survivor of stress’ and ‘self-reliance’.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that the construct of masculinity does have a role in help-seeking among some men experiencing depression, as shown in the review, and stress, as indicated in the empirical paper. Masculinity can enforce the idea of needing to be self-reliant and this can be a barrier for help-seeking. The construct of masculinity exemplifies many nuances and a possible key implication is for health services to work with this construct and what it can mean for some men to increase help-seeking in a way that does not challenge masculinity. Recommendations for clinical practice and future research are provided.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2022 10:25
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 07:57


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