Men’s Self-Initiated Coping Strategies Across Medical, Psychological, and Psychosocial Issues: A Systematic Review

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Qualitative research on men’s self-initiated coping for medical, psychological, and psychosocial issues extends and contrasts quantitative studies yet requires further synthesis. Three existing systematic reviews of qualitative studies in this area were used to develop an a priori coping categorization schedule that was applied to the current systematic review of men’s coping across a range of stressors. The primary question addressed in the current review was “What proportion of extracted individual study themes can be classified within the a priori superordinate coping categories?” The four superordinate themes applied to the 21 included studies adequately characterized 53 of the 59 (90%) individual study themes extracted for categorization. The results suggest that the superordinate themes represent a useful and valid typology of men’s coping strategies in various contexts. The superordinate theme “Flexible masculinity” yields important insights about how some men reinterpret dominant masculine characteristics to adaptively cope with stressors. The implications of review findings are discussed.

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