Explaining the Relation Between Masculinity and Stigma Toward Mental Illness: The Relative Effects of Sex, Gender, and Behavior

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Stereotypes interact such that people perceive some disorders as masculine and others as feminine. Masculine disorders tend to be highly stigmatized, and 3 studies explored potential causes of this effect. Study 1 (N = 186) showed that masculine disorders elicited more stigma then feminine disorders independent of the sex of the person with the disorder. Study 2 (N = 214) showed that symptoms occurring externally elicited more stigma than symptoms occurring internally. Study 3 (N = 234) showed that negative gender traits elicit more stigma than positive gender traits. Across all 3 studies, only the stigmatizing attitude of fear was uniquely associated with men and masculinity; otherwise, the types of behaviors exhibited seemed to have the largest impact on stigma.

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