Date

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counseling Psychology

First Adviser

Liang, Christopher T.

Abstract

Men, especially young men (18-25), consistently face disproportionate risks to both physical and psychological health (e.g., SAMHSA, 2012). Informed by social constructionist (see Addis, Mansfield, & Syzdek, 2010), masculinity theories (e.g., dysfunction strain; Pleck, 1995), and the regulatory focus theory (e.g., ought self guide; Higgins, 2012), I suggest that men’s demonstration and enactment of masculinity in context, above and beyond biological male sex, is a foundation for the health disparities facing men. Despite the theoretical relationships between masculinity and health-related outcomes, the identification of social cues that may elicit adaptive intentions or expectations remains a necessary step in gender research (see Addis et al., 2010). In response to current literature, the present dissertation utilized a series of three experimental studies to gain a deeper understanding of relevant social cues, informed by positive masculinity, that may help prime college men for more adaptive help-seeking expectations (i.e., lower conformity to the norm of self-reliance) and more positive attitudes toward professional support.As hypothesized, the current studies found that as conformity to masculine norms increased, participant attitudes and intentions to seek adaptive forms of support decreased as evidenced by responses to both the self-reliance vignettes and the ATSPPH-SF. This significant relationship was found across all conditions in all three of the experimental studies. However, contrary to predicted hypotheses, none of the experimental conditions for any of the three studies resulted in significantly different responses to or relationships with the self-reliance vignettes or the ATSPPH-SF, even when controlling for conformity to masculine norms. In light of the findings, limitations, implications, and future directions are discussed and presented with a focus on informing theorists and researchers.

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