The Influence of Racial Background and Masculine Norm Endorsement on Men’s Response to Depressive Feelings: Understanding Help-Seeking Decisions



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In the United States, men are less likely than women to seek help for depression (SAMHSA, 2018). Black and Hispanic men are even less likely than White men to seek treatment from a mental health provider (Sen, 2004; Vessey & Howard, 1993), and racial discrimination men of color may face is also associated with symptoms of depression (Chin et al., 2020). It has been suggested that male norms and masculinity promote men not to show vulnerability, and that labels such as “mental illness” both contradict male norms and make men feel vulnerable (Johnson et al., 2012; McDermott et al., 2018; Rice et al., 2018; Sierra Hernandez et al., 2014). Many researchers focusing on men’s mental health have started studying masculinity. Previous research has found that the masculine norm of self-reliance to be negatively associated with both formal and informal helpseeking (McDermott et al., 2018). The objective of the current study is to examine the relationship between conformity with masculine norms, race, and help-seeking preferences. Self-reliance was not found to be a significant predictor for help-seeking endorsement or attitudes in the current sample. Additionally, racial differences were not detected in norm endorsement for masculine norms that were associated with formal and informal help-seeking. The findings of this study will provide more insight on the ways in which masculine norms and demographic variables influence help-seeking behavior.



Psychology, Gender, Race