The Role of Masculine Norms and Informal Support on Mental Health in Incarcerated Men

University of Maryland.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity (Impact Factor: 2.08). 07/2012; 13(3):283-293. DOI: 10.1037/a0025522
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mental health problems, in general, and major depression in particular, are prevalent among incarcerated men. It is estimated that 23% of state inmates report experiencing symptoms of major depression. Despite the high rates of depressive symptoms, there is little understanding about the psychosocial factors that are associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms of incarcerated men. One factor relevant to the mental health of incarcerated men is their adherence to traditional masculine norms. We investigated the role of masculine norms and informal support on depressive and anxiety symptoms among 123 incarcerated men. The results revealed that adherence to the masculine norm of emotional control were negatively associated with depressive symptoms while heterosexual presentation and informal support were related to both depressive and anxiety symptoms. High levels of reported informal support moderated the effects of heterosexual presentation on depressive and anxiety symptoms. Public health and clinical implications are discussed.

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    • "Although traditional masculinity may exclude certain groups of individuals (e.g., Blacks, women, homosexuals) while privileging White men (Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005; Wade, 2008), anyone is subject to it regardless of social status (Iwamoto, Cheng, Lee, Takamatsu, & Gordon, 2011; Iwamoto et al., 2012). This is important for some men of color, who, because of their social status, may be unable to " fully " attain ideals of traditional masculinity , yet are still subject to it. "
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