A Mixed-Methods Study of the Health-Related Masculine Values Among Young Canadian Men

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Abstract

Masculinity frameworks in men’s health research have focused on masculine ideals and norms to describe men’s health practices. However, little attention has been paid to inductively deriving insights about what constitutes health-related masculine values among young men. A sequential exploratory mixed-methods design, comprising a qualitative lead to derive health-related masculine values with a follow-up quantitative arm to test the items, was used. Drawing on a sample of 15–29-year-old Canadian male interview participants (n = 30) and survey respondents (n = 600), 5 health-related masculine values were highlighted: (a) selflessness, (b) openness, (c) well-being, (d) strength, and (e) autonomy. Selflessness was characterized by caring for and helping others. Openness included the willingness to gain exposure from new experiences, ideas, and people. Well-being was linked to fitness and masculine body ideals and aesthetics. In terms of strength, men endorsed intellectual, emotional, and physical strength. Regarding autonomy, there was consensus men should be self-sufficient and decisive, whereas being independent drew less endorsement. Highlighting the interdependency of these domains, exploratory factor analysis yielded 2 overarching reliable quantitative dimensions characterized by domains of being inclusive (openness and selflessness; α = .88) and empowered (well-being and autonomy; α = .85). Some inductively derived and pilot-tested values ran counter to long-standing claims that young men are typically hedonistic, hypercompetitive, and estranged from self-health. Study findings are discussed detailing how the evaluation of specific health-related masculine values in subgroups of men might advance masculinities-focused men’s health research and inform the next generation of targeted gender-sensitized services.

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