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What do masculinities have to do with college men's help-seeking for depression-related symptoms? Tang, May On Ting


Few authors have specifically analyzed college men’s help-seeking for depression. Those studies that have focused on the relationship between college men’s attitudes towards seeking psychological help and the male gender role are limited in that they neglect to contextualize help-seeking behaviours. Earlier studies have also assumed that all college men adhere to traditional masculine ideals in their help-seeking decision-making. This qualitative study analyzed 21 interviews with college men who self-reported as having either clinical depression or symptoms of depression. In acknowledging the multiplicity of masculinities, this study used social constructionism to explore the way in which college men enact their masculinities in various help-seeking contexts for depression-related symptoms. Four key themes were identified: conforming to social norms, maintaining stoicism and limiting self-disclosure around friends and peers, family validating the need for professional help, and preserving autonomy. This study also examined the interplay between college men’s masculinities and their perception of help-seeking for depression symptoms. The findings demonstrate the college men’s masculine ideals surrounding help-seeking for mental illnesses.

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