For Male Patients, Perception of Masculinity Impacts Depression Treatment

A man’s idea of what it means to be masculine affects how he handles depression, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

Men who take a stoic approach and do not seek support from others are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs when they are depressed.
On the other hand, depressed men who believe they must provide for their families and avoid hurting them are less likely to commit suicide.

Professors John Oliffe and John Ogrodniczuk studied 38 men ages 24 to 50 years old, who were diagnosed as depressed or described themselves that way.

“Men’s strong sense of masculine roles and responsibility as a provider and protector enables men to hold on while seeking help to regain some self-control,” the researchers noted.

However, stoic men experienced more difficulties when depressed, because “instead of finding some respite from their emotional, mental and physical pain, self-harm emerged as the most common outcome of these actions.”

Canadian men have twice the suicide rate is women, although more women seek treatment for depression.

The study appears in the journal Social Science and Medicine.