Drinking or Playing? Men's Health and Masculinity

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2006-06-05 16:06

Being a Man

Men across the nation will be getting the pints in and staring at the big screen this month as the World Cup kicks off in Germany. But what do football and alcohol have to do with being a man? A recent psychological study by the University of Sussex reveals that the roaring crowds may be drinking their way through the game in an effort to compensate for not being man enough to play in it.

The study, made up of in-depth interviews with thirty-one 18-21 year olds in inner London, investigates what young men consider to be masculine behaviour and how this affects their health. Dr Richard de Visser, lead researcher on the study Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) sponsored study 'Young Men, Masculinity and Health' explains: "What is really interesting about the study, is the idea of using one type of typically masculine behaviour to compensate for another. For example, men who are not confident in their sporting abilities may try and make up for this by drinking excessively."

Because some men engage in unhealthy masculine behaviour, whilst others build their masculine identities through positive behaviour such as sport, the policy implications are huge. The project calls for greater understanding of attitudes to masculinity in health promotion.

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