Do Men Struggle with Societal Pressures When It Comes to Substance Abuse?

Man struggling with societal pressure from substance abuseWith there being clear differences in gender roles for hundreds of years, it’s clear that men experience different societal pressures than women face. In 2016, several men opened up on Buzzfeed about some of the greatest pressures they’ve faced as a man in America today. Here were some of the expectations that were listed:

  • The expectation to look “manly” and muscular
  • Needing to act “tough”
  • Must take up space in a room
  • Cannot cry

Some men reported being told they weren’t “manly” enough, which added a stronger sense of shame. The University of Pittsburgh even noted that advertisements and male icons are often depicted as “violent” and “aggressive”, leaving many men to wonder where they fit in. As men are navigating the unforeseen road to meeting expectations, it makes sense that they’re pushed to their breaking point – and often.

In 2015, researchers in California published a study to assess social influencers of alcohol use for men. They found that men are more likely than women to experience social pressures to use substances, as well as pressure to do it covertly. Furthermore, another 2015 study published in the journal Psychology of Men & Masculinity involved the collection of data from 804 college adult men regarding the masculine norms they face and their substance use patterns. Several themes emerged, with the following “masculine themes” being most positively associated with heavy substance use:

  • Playboy – having many sexual encounters
  • Risk-taking – engaging in risky behaviors, regardless of the consequences

Emotional control and heterosexual presentation (importance of appearing heterosexual to others) were found to be the least of the “masculine themes” to be associated with higher risks of drinking and substance abuse. As men in today’s society, it’s important that we provide both education and support to foster awareness and learning initiatives towards breaking down some of these pressures that weigh heavily on us.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.