Performing masculinity, influencing health: A qualitative mixed-methods study of young Spanish men
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AuthorMarcos, Jorge; Romo Avilés, María Nuria; Río Lozano, María del; Palomares Cuadros, Juan; García Calvente, María del Mar
Global Health Action
GenderMasculinityMen's healthYoung menSocial theoryHealth inequalitiesQualitative research
Marcos, J.; et al. Performing masculinity, influencing health: A qualitative mixed-methods study of young Spanish men. Global Health Action, 6(1): 21134 (2013). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/49833]
SponsorshipThis research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not- for-profit sectors. However, we had the opportunity to write this paper with the financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) and the Andalusian Government’s Economy, Innovation and Science Department (Exp P08-CTS-4321).
Background: The literature shows how gender mandates contribute to differences in exposure and vulnerability to certain health risk factors. This paper presents the results of a study developed in the south of Spain, where research aimed at understanding men from a gender perspective is still limited.Objective: The aim of this paper is to explore the lay perceptions and meanings ascribed to the idea of masculinity, identifying ways in which gender displays are related to health.Design: The study is based on a mixed-methods data collection strategy typical of qualitative research. We performed a qualitative content analysis focused on manifest and latent content.Results: Our analysis showed that the relationship between masculinity and health was mainly defined with regard to behavioural explanations with an evident performative meaning. With regard to issues such as driving, the use of recreational drugs, aggressive behaviour, sexuality, and body image, important connections were established between manhood acts and health outcomes. Different ways of understanding and performing the male identity also emerged from the results. The findings revealed the implications of these aspects in the processes of change in the identity codes of men and women.Conclusions: The study provides insights into how the category ‘man’ is highly dependent on collective practices and performative acts. Consideration of how males perform manhood acts might be required in guidance on the development of programmes and policies aimed at addressing gender inequalities in health in a particular local context.