Intensions Study: Health Stigma & Toughness

New study finds more than a third of men feel it’s important to be tough, despite the health consequences

VANCOUVER, BC (July 4, 2019) - A new study conducted by Intensions Consulting and the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation has found that thirty-five percent of men believe it’s important to demonstrate toughness, endorsing views that men should ‘never reveal their vulnerability’ and should ‘take risks, even though they might get injured’.

The study, which was published in the latest edition of Oxford’s Health Promotion International, involved an online survey with 2000 Canadian men between the ages of 19 and 94 years. Through this survey the researchers discovered that:

- 39% of Canadian men believe it’s important to ‘never display weakness’;

- 39% of Canadian men believe it’s important to ‘never reveal your vulnerability’;

- 34% of Canadian men believe it’s important to ‘take risks, even if you might get injured’;

- 28% of Canadian men believe it’s important to ‘show others how tough you are’.

Don McCreary - Brock University

The study found that holding these toughness beliefs was associated with a greater frequency of health risks among men, in particular having significantly higher rates of unhealthy eating behavior and higher screening rates for depression.

According to Dr. Don McCreary, Scientific Advisor at Intensions Consulting and study lead-author, “these results build on previous research showing that traditional male role norms can have an negative impact on men's health and well-being. Knowing that many men feel it is important to be seen as tough will help health promotion specialists build better tools and programs that will ultimately improve men's quality of life."

Nick Black - Intensions Consulting

The study also revealed that younger men were more likely to hold these beliefs, with 49% of men aged 19-29 believing that toughness was important, in contrast to 39% of men aged 30-54 and 23% of men aged 55+.

“For younger men in particular, performing and proving your toughness appears to be quite an important masculine norm”, said Nick Black, Managing Partner at Intensions Consulting and study co-author. “This data suggests that the need to show others how tough you are, could be playing a role in the unhealthy eating habits and mental health of men.”

ABOUT THIS STUDY

This study, conducted by Intensions Consulting and the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, involved an online survey with a sample of 2000 Canadian males between the ages of 19 and 94. The study was published recently in Health Promotion International. For a copy of the detailed findings, please click: https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daz049

ABOUT INTENSIONS CONSULTING

Intensions Consulting Inc., is a Vancouver based market research consultancy. Our purpose is to find hidden insights and market opportunities for our clients. We do this through a combination of research and psychology - using statistics and emotion to explain human behaviour. Intensions conduct studies across North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

web: http://www.intensions.co

ABOUT CANADIAN MEN’S HEALTH FOUNDATION

Canadian Men’s Health Foundation is a national, not for profit organization established in 2014 by Dr. Larry Goldenberg and founding President Wayne Hartrick. The mission of Canadian Men’s Health Foundation is to inspire Canadian men to live healthier lives.

web: https://menshealthfoundation.ca