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Understanding Why Men Avoid Seeking Medical Help

Mar 13, 2023 | 0 comments

Mar 13, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

The article used in this paper is “Why Won’t He Go to the Doctor?”: The Psychology of Men’s Help Seeking.” Men generally seek less help as compared to women, this has not been comprehensively studied. According to Courtenay (2000) the reason could be linked to the fact that men position themselves as a stronger gender and in return tend to persevere distress and pain as they take it as normal as compared to women, but considering the mortality rate of men is more than women, they need more help than women. In the past, the men help-seeking rate when having medical issues was regarded as normal if the rate is less than that of women.

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The reason is also evaluated in the articles as the concept of masculinity where man have a mindset of what a ‘man’ need to be and in this regard men often are aligned with the notion that emphasizes competitiveness, power and emotional control as well as self-reliance and aggression. This is one of the core factors that contribute to men not easily seeking help.
The article narrows down to medical help with several theories backing the fact that men don’t seek medical help even when they are in need . for instance in the story of the Portuguese construction worker who was racially abused by colleagues and got an accident and didn’t tell his colleagues, this is backed up by social construction theory which states that gender is dynamically formed in social connections and the creation of gender is dependant on specific interactions. Based on this it’s clear that the Portuguese did not tell the colleagues because they would have thought he is weak.

Reactant theory also explains the idea of why men tend to avoid seeking for medical health. The theory states that reactance is the nasty motivational reaction that provides individuals, rules or regulation which impend or reject specific behavioural freedoms. This mainly occurs when an individual has a feeling that something or someone is limiting their varieties of alternatives or taking away their choices (Mansfield, Addis & Mahalik, 2003). This is linked with the issue of men not seeking help because they tend to think it’s their right and they have many options or choices to seek from instead of asking for help.
According to Mansfield, Addis & Mahalik (2003), the social constructionist theory also backs the notion up as it states that gender is dynamically formed in social interactions, and the creation of gender is dependent on the stake of precise interactions. Additionally, the stake that matters in the interaction is always factored in in social structures like, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and class. For instance, Pyke (1996) discovered how the social class impact the shows of masculinity. She came into an observation that the couples in the upper middle class, their men revealed masculinity by working for extended long hours.

Normativeness is also a social psychological theory which implies to the level at which an individual view his behaviour or experience as common or normal. There are various factors that contribute into this including the individual familiarity with the problem, representation of the problem, exposure to individuals with similar problems and masculine gender socialization (DeLamater, Myers & Collett, 2014). In relation to help-seeking, men are more likely to seek help when the experience is similar or common across other men. Based on this its vital to note that problems such as illness, sexual dysfunction and depression, together with their solution can be viewed as having different levels of normativeness. Hence in the above cases men are more unlikely to seek help because of the uniqueness of the problem according to their own point of view.


Courtenay, W.H. (2000). Constructions of masculinity and their influence on men’s well-being: A theory of gender and health. Social Science and Medicine, 50, 1385-1401.
DeLamater, J. D., Myers, D. J., & Collett, J. L. (2014). Social Psychology.
Mansfield, A. K., Addis, M. E., & Mahalik, J. R. (January 01, 2003). “Why Won’t He Go to the Doctor?”: The Psychology of Men’s Help Seeking. International Journal of Men’s Health, 2, 2, 93-110.
Pyke, K.D. (1996). Class-based masculinities: The interdependence of gender, class and interpersonal power. Gender & Society, 10(5), 527-549.

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