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Men's Psychotherapy Use, Male Role Norms, and Male-Typical Depression Symptoms: Examining 716 Men and Women Experiencing Psychological Distress


Eggenberger, Lukas; Fordschmid, Callia; Ludwig, Claudio; Weber, Seraina; Grub, Jessica; Komlenac, Nikola; Walther, Andreas (2021). Men's Psychotherapy Use, Male Role Norms, and Male-Typical Depression Symptoms: Examining 716 Men and Women Experiencing Psychological Distress. Behavioral Sciences, 11:83.

Abstract

Men as compared to women are half as often affected by depressive and anxiety disorders and seek significantly less help for mental health issues than women. Adherence to traditional male role norms (AtTMRN) may hinder men from describing prototypical depression symptoms and from seeking psychotherapy. The current study compared whether AtTMRN, gender role identity, or the experience of prototypical or male-typical externalizing mental health symptoms were associated with psychotherapy use in men and women. In an anonymous online survey, 716 participants (37% men) reporting to currently experience psychological distress were examined. Information was obtained on psychotherapy use, depression and anxiety symptoms, gender role identity, and traditional male role norms. Although experiencing similar levels of depression, men compared to women showed a reduction in psychotherapy use by 29%. Masculine role identity was directly associated with reduced psychotherapy use in men (β = -0.41, p = 0.029), whereas AtTMRN was not (men: β = -0.04, p = 0.818; women: β = -0.25, p = 0.064). Higher externalizing depression symptomatology (β = -0.68, p = 0.005), but not prototypical depression symptomatology (β = -0.02, p = 0.499), was associated with reduced psychotherapy use in men but not women (p > 0.05). Interactions revealed that men, but not women, with high AtTMRN use psychotherapy only when exhibiting elevated symptom levels. The results corroborate previous reports showing reduced psychotherapy use in men as compared to women and identify elevated masculine role identity and male-typical externalizing depression symptomatology as direct factors associated with reduced psychotherapy use in psychologically distressed men. AtTMRN interacts with mental health symptoms to predict psychotherapy use, indicating that men with high AtTMRN only use psychotherapy when exhibiting high symptomatology.

Abstract

Men as compared to women are half as often affected by depressive and anxiety disorders and seek significantly less help for mental health issues than women. Adherence to traditional male role norms (AtTMRN) may hinder men from describing prototypical depression symptoms and from seeking psychotherapy. The current study compared whether AtTMRN, gender role identity, or the experience of prototypical or male-typical externalizing mental health symptoms were associated with psychotherapy use in men and women. In an anonymous online survey, 716 participants (37% men) reporting to currently experience psychological distress were examined. Information was obtained on psychotherapy use, depression and anxiety symptoms, gender role identity, and traditional male role norms. Although experiencing similar levels of depression, men compared to women showed a reduction in psychotherapy use by 29%. Masculine role identity was directly associated with reduced psychotherapy use in men (β = -0.41, p = 0.029), whereas AtTMRN was not (men: β = -0.04, p = 0.818; women: β = -0.25, p = 0.064). Higher externalizing depression symptomatology (β = -0.68, p = 0.005), but not prototypical depression symptomatology (β = -0.02, p = 0.499), was associated with reduced psychotherapy use in men but not women (p > 0.05). Interactions revealed that men, but not women, with high AtTMRN use psychotherapy only when exhibiting elevated symptom levels. The results corroborate previous reports showing reduced psychotherapy use in men as compared to women and identify elevated masculine role identity and male-typical externalizing depression symptomatology as direct factors associated with reduced psychotherapy use in psychologically distressed men. AtTMRN interacts with mental health symptoms to predict psychotherapy use, indicating that men with high AtTMRN only use psychotherapy when exhibiting high symptomatology.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
02 Faculty of Law > Bereich Dekan: Fachgr. & Lehrstühle > Civil Law
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Social Sciences & Humanities > Development
Life Sciences > Genetics
Social Sciences & Humanities > General Psychology
Life Sciences > Behavioral Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:2 June 2021
Deposited On:03 Nov 2022 19:02
Last Modified:27 Apr 2024 01:40
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:2076-328X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/bs11060083
PubMed ID:34199633
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)