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J Clin Nurs. 2008 Feb;17(4):451-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2007.01961.x.

Construction of masculinities among men aged 85 and older in the north of Sweden.

Author information

  • 1Department of Nursing, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. lena.alex@nurs.umu.se



The aim was to analyse the construction of masculinities among men aged 85 and older.


All societies have a gender order, constructed from multiple ideas of what is seen as feminine and masculine. As the group of men aged 85 and older is increasing in size and their demand for care will increase, we must recognize the importance of studying these men and various discourses of masculinities.


Qualitative explorative.


Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse thematic narratives. Masculinity theories provided the point of departure for the analysis.


The analysis coalesced into three masculinities. 'Being in the male centre', developed from subthemes as: taking pride in one's work and economic situation; being in the centre in relation to others; regarding women as sexual objects; and belonging to a select group. 'Striving to maintain the male facade' developed from subthemes as: emphasizing 'important' connections; having feelings of loss; striving to maintain old norms and rejecting the fact of being old. 'Being related' was formulated from subthemes as: feeling at home with domestic duties; being concerned; accepting one's own aging; and reflecting on life.


Our study indicates the importance of being aware of the existence of multiple masculinities, in contrast to the generally unproblematic and unsubtle particular healthcare approaches which consider men as simply belonging to one masculinity. Relevance to clinical practice. Diverse masculinities probably affect encounters between men and healthcare providers and others who work with an older population and therefore our results are of importance in a caring context.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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