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Clin Psychol Rev. 2016 Nov;49:106-118. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Sep 10.

The role of masculinity in men's help-seeking for depression: A systematic review.

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School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia; Level 6 (North), 119-143 Missenden Rd, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia. Electronic address:
School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales, Australia. Electronic address:
Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:
School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Canada. Electronic address:
Centre for Medical Psychology and Evidence-based Decision-making, The University of Sydney, Australia. Electronic address:



Conformity to traditional masculine gender norms may deter men's help-seeking and/or impact the services men engage. Despite proliferating research, current evidence has not been evaluated systematically. This review summarises findings related to the role of masculinity on men's help-seeking for depression.


Six electronic databases were searched using terms related to masculinity, depression and help-seeking. Titles and abstracts were reviewed and data systematically extracted and examined for methodological quality.


Of 1927 citations identified, 37 met inclusion criteria. Seventeen (46%) studies reported qualitative research; eighteen (49%) employed quantitative methods, and two (5%) mixed methods. Findings suggest conformity to traditional masculine norms has a threefold effect on men experiencing depression, impacting: i) their symptoms and expression of symptoms; ii) their attitudes to, intention, and, actual help-seeking behaviour; and, iii) their symptom management.


Results demonstrate the problematic impact of conformity to traditional masculine norms on the way men experience and seek help for depression. Tailoring and targeting clinical interventions may increase men's service uptake and the efficacy of treatments. Future research examining factors associated with men's access to, and engagement with depression care will be critical to increasing help-seeking, treatment uptake, and effectual self-management among men experiencing depression.


Depression; Healthcare; Help-seeking; Masculinity; Systematic review

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