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Psychol Health. 2009 Oct;24(8):981-96. doi: 10.1080/08870440802311330.

Gender role conflict and emotional approach coping in men with cancer.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, United States.


The utility of emotional approach coping (EAC), or expressing and processing emotions, has been equivocal for men. Gender role conflict, or the negative cognitive, emotional and behavioural consequences associated with male gender role socialisation, likely shape coping responses and may negatively affect the efficacy of men's emotion-directed coping efforts and adjustment to cancer. Perceptions of receptiveness of one's interpersonal environment may be particularly important to the effectiveness of EAC. This study examined the relationships among EAC, gender role conflict, and distress in a group of 183 men with cancer. Structural equation modelling revealed that higher gender role conflict was associated with lower emotional expression, which in turn was associated with greater distress. Gender role conflict was not related to emotional processing. Higher gender role conflict also was associated directly with more distress. In subsequent analyses, social constraints and age were examined as possible moderators of EAC. Emotional expression was related to more psychological distress for those in highly constrained environments; and emotional processing was associated with more distress with younger age. Emotional expression may be particularly affected by social influences related to gender and social receptivity. More research is needed to better distinguish constructive and unconstructive emotional processing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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