Hegemonic masculinity was associated with loneliness in old age

Sociologists from Michigan State University (USA) have found a connection between the desire to seem more courageous and communicating with others in old age. Hegemonic masculinity dramatically increases the chances to be lonely in old age. The study has been published in the journal Sex Roles.

The term hegemonic masculinity means masculine behavior based on the concept of "real man", which is characterized by avoiding everything feminine, sexism, homophobia, aggression, competitiveness, emotional restraint, etc. This type of masculinity is shared by the dominant part of society but can cause harm to others.

American scientists found out what the consequences of this type of behavior are. To do so, they analyzed data from 5,487 older Americans, interviewed them, and learned about their communication. 

In the survey, men had to agree or disagree with statements such as "I don't like it when men do something feminine," "When a man is hurt, he shouldn't show it," and so on. This helped to define their psychological patterns of behavior.

The results showed that older participants in the study who were convinced that a real man should be strong, tough, and independent in making decisions were more socially isolated than the rest of the participants.

The authors attribute this to the fact that the very message of masculinity is based on the idea of isolation because it encourages people to become autonomous, rigid and to conceal emotions. In their opinion, it is more difficult for people who are prone to this pattern of behavior to make friends and maintain existing connections.

The scientists believe that the findings will allow fighting more effectively against the problem of loneliness in elderly years.

March 12, 2020, 12:51 p.m.

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