Help Seeking in Men: When Masculinity and Self-Compassion Collide

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Sports are known to enculturate men in traditional masculinity. Importantly, conformity to such norms is associated with less help seeking, particularly for mental health concerns. The present study furthers the understanding of help seeking in men by addressing the relationships between conformity to masculine norms and self-compassion across intercollegiate athletes (n = 94) and a comparison group (n = 72). Results showed that intercollegiate athletes were more likely to endorse masculine norms (Cohen’s d = 1.01) and scored higher on self-compassion (Cohen’s d = 0.32) than the comparison group. Replicating past research, results also showed that conformity to traditional masculinity norms predicted less favorable attitudes toward help seeking because of self-stigma, p < .001. New to the literature is the finding that, independent of masculinity, self-compassion predicted more positive attitudes toward help-seeking for intercollegiate athletes but not the comparison group. These findings highlight 1 potential avenue for boosting help seeking among men.

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