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How men envision themselves as men in the future : a grounded theory Kumar, Rajeena P.

Abstract

Compared to women, men experience many poorer health outcomes including having shorter lifespans, higher rates for all 15 leading causes of death, and greater risk of cancer and heart disease (Courtenay, 2000; Statistics Canada, 2005; Singh, Kochanek, & MacDorman, 1994; Viallancourt, 2010). College aged men experience additional challenges such as dropping out of school more often and engaging more frequently in risky behaviours compared to women (Courtenay, 2000; Oliffe, Galdas, Han, & Kelly, 2013). Research illustrates the adherence to traditional masculine norms contributing largely to men’s poorer life outcomes (Shen‐Miller, Isacco, Davies, St. Jean, Phan, 2013). Deficit models of psychology saturate the literature on men and masculinities to provide insights into men’s experiences and therapeutic interventions, but less attention has been given to the study of strengths and positive emotions. (Kiselica & Englar-Carlson, 2010). Further, research demonstrates the lack of engagement of college aged men when receiving psychotherapeutic interventions (Davies, Shen-Miller, & Isacco, 2010; Kiselica & Englar-Carlson, 2010). By using a positive psychology approach to develop clinical interventions, scholars have found increased engagement of college aged men in counselling (Davies et al., 2010; Kiselica & Englar-Carlson, 2010), but literature describing these approaches is largely theoretical. Following recommendations to build theory on men and masculinities using a positive psychology lens (Issaco, 2015) and noting the existence of a new but elusive concept of possible masculinities, the present study aimed to (a) construct a data-driven theory for explaining how college aged men envision their possible masculinities (i.e., what men want to be in the future), and (b) to contribute theory-driven suggestions for psychotherapeutic interventions for college aged men within a positive psychology framework. Using grounded theory methodology, the Envisioning Possible Masculinities Model (EPMM) emerged from analyzing eight focus groups with 49 college aged men. The EPMM describes the contextual factors and processes contributing to how college aged men envision their possible masculinities and summarizes two types of possible masculinities (i.e., internal and external). Results can be used to expand the theoretical understanding of college aged men, aid in the development of engaging clinical interventions, and improve the current conceptualization of possible masculinities.

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