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-  2019 

Men’s Work-Related Stress and Mental Health: Illustrating the Workings of Masculine Role Norms

DOI: 10.1177/1557988319838416

Keywords: mental health, work-related health, occupational health, masculinity, gender issues and sexual orientation, male role, gender issues and sexual orientation

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Although a strong relationship between employment and men’s mental health has been identified, theoretical linkages between masculinity, employment, and mental health are not well developed and mental health supports that account for gender and employment are correspondingly inadequate. The purpose of this study is to contribute to theoretical understandings of men’s employment-related mental health experience and raise possibilities for gender-responsive employer supports for men’s mental health. Specifically, this study is a secondary analysis of narrative accounts from 18 men employed in male-dominated occupations about their employment-related mental health. Results of this study present evidence of processes by which theoretical concepts of masculine role norms influence work-related stress and mental health including: (a) injunctive norms, which operate through an internal sense of the cultural “shoulds” and “should nots”; (b) descriptive norms, which are communicated through the behaviors that a man sees other men enacting in his immediate environment; and (c) cohesive norms, which exert influence through observations of how men who are leaders, behave. Men’s insights into the complexity of employment-related stress and mental health according to masculine role norms related to work demands and leadership modeling and messaging are discussed. This study concludes with potential ways forward for employer support for men’s mental health


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