Masculine norms about emotionality and social constraints in young and older adult men with cancer.

Beliefs that men should restrict their display of emotions, or restrictive emotionality, might contribute to adjustment to cancer and this might be sensitive to social receptivity to disclosure. The present research examined relationships of restrictive emotionality, social constraints, and psychological distress in young adults with testicular cancer (N = 171; Study 1) and older men with prostate cancer (N = 66; Study 2).

Study 1: positive associations were observed for social constraints and restrictive emotionality with depressive symptoms. Social constraints moderated the relationship, such that high restrictive emotionality was associated with higher depressive symptoms in those with high constraints. Study 2: only social constraints (and not restrictive emotionality) was positively associated with depressive symptoms and cancer-related intrusive thoughts. The social constraints × restrictive emotionality interaction approached significance with depressive symptoms, such with high social constraints low restrictive emotionality was associated with higher depressive symptoms compared to those with less constraints. No significant associations were found for intrusive thoughts in either study. Findings demonstrate unique relationships with psychological distress across the lifespan of men with cancer given perception of constraints and adherence to masculine norms about emotionality.

Journal of behavioral medicine. 2016 Mar 31 [Epub ahead of print]

Katie Darabos, Michael A Hoyt

Department of Psychology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10016, USA., Department of Psychology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10016, USA.