Summary: Traditional ‘male’ values rank lower on the scale than helping others and being health conscious to Millennial men, researchers report.
Source: University of British Columbia.
Contrary to popular stereotypes, young men today are likely to be selfless, socially engaged and health-conscious, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting, a Vancouver-based market research firm.
The researchers surveyed 630 young men ages 15-29 in Western Canada and found that the most strongly endorsed masculine value is selflessness. Ninety-one per cent of the men agreed that a man should help other people, and 80 per cent believed that a man should give back to the community. Openness also ranked highly—88 per cent said a man should be open to new ideas, new experiences, and new people—and so did health, with a majority of participants saying that men should be healthy or in good shape.
More traditionally “male” values ranked lower on the scale, but were still valued by the majority of participants. Seventy-five per cent of the men said that a man should have physical strength, compared with those who said a man should have intellectual strength (87 per cent) or emotional strength (83 per cent). Autonomy also tracked lower with 78 per cent of the men agreeing that a man should be “independent.”
“Young Canadian men seem to be holding masculine values that are distinctly different from those of previous generations. These values may run counter to long-standing claims that young men are typically hedonistic, hypercompetitive, and that they risk or neglect their health,” said lead author John Oliffe, a nursing professor who leads the men’s health research program at UBC.
Nick Black, managing partner at Intensions Consulting and a study co-author, believes many young Canadian men are expanding their definition of masculinity to include values like openness and well-being.
“As a millennial myself, I can see these values reflected in the lives of men around me,” said Black. “They want to be both caring and strong, both open to others and self-sufficient, and they see no contradiction in these values.”
Oliffe says more research is needed to include other age groups and geographical locations, but adds that the current results could be useful for designing more effective men’s health-care programs.
“The life expectancy gap is closing between men and women, and I hope that additional gains are mustered through these emerging health-related values – and our continued work in men’s health,” said Oliffe.
Source: Lou Corpuz-Bosshart – University of British Columbia
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Original Research: Abstract for “A mixed-methods study of the health-related masculine values among young Canadian men” by Oliffe, John L.; Rice, Simon; Kelly, Mary T.; Ogrodniczuk, John S.; Broom, Alex; Robertson, Steve; and Black, Nick in Psychology of Men & Masculinity. Published April 2018.
A mixed-methods study of the health-related masculine values among young Canadian men
Masculinity frameworks in men’s health research have focused on masculine ideals and norms to describe men’s health practices. However, little attention has been paid to inductively deriving insights about what constitutes health-related masculine values among young men. A sequential exploratory mixed-methods design, comprising a qualitative lead to derive health-related masculine values with a follow-up quantitative arm to test the items, was used. Drawing on a sample of 15–29-year-old Canadian male interview participants (n = 30) and survey respondents (n = 600), 5 health-related masculine values were highlighted: (a) selflessness, (b) openness, (c) well-being, (d) strength, and (e) autonomy. Selflessness was characterized by caring for and helping others. Openness included the willingness to gain exposure from new experiences, ideas, and people. Well-being was linked to fitness and masculine body ideals and aesthetics. In terms of strength, men endorsed intellectual, emotional, and physical strength. Regarding autonomy, there was consensus men should be self-sufficient and decisive, whereas being independent drew less endorsement. Highlighting the interdependency of these domains, exploratory factor analysis yielded 2 overarching reliable quantitative dimensions characterized by domains of being inclusive (openness and selflessness; α = .88) and empowered (well-being and autonomy; α = .85). Some inductively derived and pilot-tested values ran counter to long-standing claims that young men are typically hedonistic, hypercompetitive, and estranged from self-health. Study findings are discussed detailing how the evaluation of specific health-related masculine values in subgroups of men might advance masculinities-focused men’s health research and inform the next generation of targeted gender-sensitized services.