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Title: Young adult men's constructions of help-seeking and masculinity : a discourse analysis
Author: Grant, Suzanne Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 2598
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2011
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Despite the prevalence of mental health problems in the United Kingdom, there is a disparity between the number of individuals suffering with such difficulties and those that seek professional psychological help. Specifically, young adult men account for the least frequent users of psychological services. A wide body of literature has found that men's reluctance to seek help is associated with traditional masculine ideologies. The present research aimed to investigate this further by asking how a sample of young adult men from London and the surrounding boroughs constructed psychological helpseeking and masculinity, and the implications these had for their subject positioning and help-seeking practices. The research adopted a qualitative methodology, incorporating a social constructionist paradigm. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten men aged 18-25 years old. The participants were predominantly white British, and had no mental health problems or previous experience of psychological service use. An integrative form of discourse analysis was carried out, which drew on discursive and Foucauldian features to explore the different interpretative repertoires, ideologies and subject positions that were available for the participants to work up in their talk. It was found that the men in the sample drew on a number of interpretative repertoires in order to construct help-seeking, and also constructed particular masculine identities within which to position themselves and others. Specifically, psychological helpseeking presented some ideological dilemmas to the men in the sample, where they risked being positioned as abnormal within society or weak, feminine men. The participants discursively managed this by drawing on several discursive strategies and discourses of 'macho' men who are brave to seek help, and 'new' men who are comfortable with expressing their emotions. It was concluded that this enabled psychological help-seeking to become a legitimate practice. However, it was also discussed how the dominance of traditional hegemonic masculinity constrained the way in which these men were able to construct psychological help-seeking. The findings of the present study contribute to therapists' awareness of masculinity-related issues with their male clients, and also inform the way psychological services could be marketed to men. The findings also provide support to the literature that has criticised and extended Connel's (1995) theory of hegemonic masculinity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available