Why "real men" do not like to be treated

Diana Sanchez, along with graduate student Mary Himmelstein (Mary Himmelstein) conducted two studies. One of them was attended by about 250 men who answered the questionnaire via the Internet. Questions were devoted to the definition of masculinity from the point of view of respondents and differences in the psychological qualities of men and women. It turned out that the more "courageous" answers the respondents gave, the more likely they preferred to be treated by male doctors, not women.

Then the researchers asked 250 men, students of a large university, to answer the same questions. After each student, medical students from both sexes talked, asking him about health problems. It is noteworthy that the most "courageous" participants in their answers were much more frank in talking with the "doctor" of a female than in a conversation with a man. Such a controversial approach - the tendency to be treated by male doctors for not being ready to frankly tell them about their medical problems can potentially hamper the effectiveness of treatment.

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Earlier, the same authors conducted another study1. Mary Himmelshtein and Diane Sanchez interviewed 193 students (88 men and 105 women, average age 19) and another 298 volunteers (148 men and 150 women, mean age 35 years), found via the Internet using the Amazon Mechanical Turk website. As expected, men with traditional ideas of masculinity were less likely to seek medical help, were inclined to minimize their symptoms, and as a result, their health was on average worse than that of women and men who did not share such beliefs. It is interesting that this same problem extended to women who held beliefs traditionally considered male (reliance only on one's own strength, courage, restraint).

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"Men still have to be worse because of traditional ideas about masculinity rooted in our culture, which include courage, steadfastness, self-reliance. Women, on the other hand, no one is trying to convince them that they need to ignore health problems and symptoms of diseases so they can be called "a real woman," says Mary Himmelstein.

For more details see M. Himmelstein, D.Sanchez, "Masculinity in the doctor's office: Masculinity, gendered doctor preference and doctor-patient communication", Preventive Medicine, vol. 84, March 2016.

1 M. Himmelstein, D. Sanchez "Masculinity impediments: Internalized masculinity contributes to healthcare avoidance in men and women", Journal of Health Psychology, October 2014.
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