UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Examining the Role of Traditional Masculinity and Depression in Men’s Risk for Contracting COVID-19 Walther, Andreas; Eggenberger, Lukas; Grub, Jessica; Ogrodniczuk, John S.; Seidler, Zac E.; Rice, Simon M.; Kealy, David; Oliffe, John Lindsay; Ehlert, Ulrike


In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and claims that traditional masculinity may put some men at increased risk for infection, research reporting men’s health behaviors is critically important. Traditional masculine norms such as self-reliance and toughness are associated with a lower likelihood to vaccinate or follow safety restrictions. Furthermore, infection risk and traditional masculinity should be investigated in a differentiated manner including gender role orientation, underlying traditional masculine ideologies and male gender role conflict. In this pre-registered online survey conducted during March/April 2021 in German-speaking countries in Europe, 490 men completed questionnaires regarding contracting COVID-19 as confirmed by a validated test, fear of COVID-19 (FCV-19S), and experience of psychological burden due to COVID-19. In addition, depression symptomatology was assessed by using prototypical internalizing and male-typical externalizing depression symptoms. Furthermore, self-identified masculine gender orientation, endorsement of traditional masculinity ideologies, and gender role conflict were measured. A total of 6.9% of men (n = 34) reported having contracted COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Group comparisons revealed that men who had contracted COVID-19 exhibited higher overall traditional masculine ideology and gender role conflict. Logistic regression controlling for confounders (age, income, education, and sexual orientation) indicated that only depression symptoms are independently associated with the risk of having contracted COVID-19. While prototypical depression symptoms were negatively associated with the risk of having contracted COVID-19, male-typical externalizing depression symptoms were positively associated with the risk of contracting COVID-19. For traditional masculinity, no robust association for an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 could be established, while higher male-typical externalizing depression symptoms were associated with an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

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