Masculinity and Health Behaviors

By Dr. Ron Milo

Although MS is more common in women, males tend to have more severe diseases and worse outcomes.

In order to understand how male gender norms may affect men with MS, researchers from Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, conducted a research study among 81 men with MS.

The men completed questionnaires that measured health-related behaviors, assessed coping strategies and masculine ideals.

The study results, recently published in the medical journal  International Journal of MS Care, suggests possible adverse effects of masculinity in seeking medical care.

According to the researchers, Masculinity adherence to traditional gender norms was a significant predictor of how men engaged in health behaviors.

For example, if a man believes weakness, vulnerability, and reliance are not masculine behaviors, it might prevent him from seeking medical help.

The researchers stress that the study results might be very significant in explaining how gender identity affects healthcare for people with MS. However, more research is needed.

For more info: Effects of Conformity to Masculine Norms and Coping on Health Behaviors in Men With Multiple Sclerosis

Dr. Ron Milo is the Chairman of the Department of Neurology and director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at the Barzilai Medical Center.

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