Conference Agenda

03-06: Jacquie Cherie McGraw
Friday, 19/Jul/2019:
11:30am - 11:55am

Seminar Room 2-6


Chair: Rodoula Tsiotsou


“He’s Too Much of a Man to do That”: The role of Masculine Identities and Self-Conscious Emotions in Men’s Help-Seeking in Preventative Health

Authors: Jacquie Cherie McGraw (Queensland University of Technology, Australia), Rebekah Russell-Bennett (Queensland University of Technology, Australia), Katherine Marie White (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)

Despite lower life expectancy than women and higher likelihood of premature death from disease, men are reluctant to access preventative health services (AIHW, 2017, 2019; Baker et al., 2014). Such services are transformative and aim to improve consumer well-being, usually through the co-creation of value between the service and the consumer in an interactive process, such as consumer attendance at a cancer screening clinic and participating in a screening procedure (Anderson et al., 2013; Vargo, Maglio, & Akaka, 2008; Zainuddin, Previte, & Russell-Bennett, 2011). However, the potential value of some services is not always realised, for example when men reject bowel cancer screening services (Leo & Zainuddin, 2017; Plé & Chumpitaz Cáceres, 2010). Gender literature theorises that men demonstrate their masculinity through their health beliefs and behaviours, which are usually unhealthy or risky (Connell, 2005; Connell, 2012; Courtenay, 2000). Health literature has found that male consumers cite threat to masculinity and emotions like embarrassment and guilt as barriers to help-seeking and accessing preventative health services (Consedine, Ladwig, Reddig, & Broadbent, 2011; Harmy, Norwati, Noor, & Amry, 2011; Leone, Rovito, Mullin, Mohammed, & Lee, 2017). Emotions such as embarrassment, guilt and shame are examples from a set of emotions known as self-conscious emotions and are usually triggered by self-representations or identity goals (Lewis, 2000; Tracy & Robins, 2011). Self-conscious emotions are important in social marketing for transformative services as they motivate people’s feelings, thoughts and behaviours (Lewis, 2000; Tracy & Robins, 2011). To date, there is sparse literature that examines the role of different masculine identities for men’s help-seeking and the role of self-conscious emotions and masculine identities in mature men’s help-seeking for preventative health. Through thematic analysis of five focus groups with mature men (N=39), this research identified seven key masculine identities for men’s help-seeking from 12 Jungian male archetypes, particularly the Thinker, the Caregiver and the Innocent for positive help-seeking, and the Outlaw, the Ruler and the Explorer for negative help-seeking, while the Regular Guy could have both positive or negative help-seeking (Mark & Pearson, 2001). Three key themes of masculinity for the key masculine identities and their help-seeking behaviours were identified: role in family, normative influences and stoicism and self-reliance. The research also found three themes of masculinity that triggered self-conscious emotions for the key masculine identities: head of family role, agency and power, and toughness and stoicism. The themes of masculinity also lead to regulation of self-conscious emotions through either positive or negative help-seeking behaviours. The contribution of this research includes traditional masculine identities that: obstruct or promote healthy men’s help-seeking behaviour, regulate self-conscious emotions for men’s positive or negative help-seeking, and regulate self-conscious emotions through negative help-seeking behaviours because of masculine ideals of agency and power.