Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 259–270 | Cite as

Masculine norms about emotionality and social constraints in young and older adult men with cancer

  • Katie Darabos
  • Michael A. Hoyt


Beliefs that men should restrict their display of emotions, or restrictive emotionality, might contribute to adjustment to cancer and this might be sensitive to social receptivity to disclosure. The present research examined relationships of restrictive emotionality, social constraints, and psychological distress in young adults with testicular cancer (N = 171; Study 1) and older men with prostate cancer (N = 66; Study 2). Study 1: positive associations were observed for social constraints and restrictive emotionality with depressive symptoms. Social constraints moderated the relationship, such that high restrictive emotionality was associated with higher depressive symptoms in those with high constraints. Study 2: only social constraints (and not restrictive emotionality) was positively associated with depressive symptoms and cancer-related intrusive thoughts. The social constraints × restrictive emotionality interaction approached significance with depressive symptoms, such with high social constraints low restrictive emotionality was associated with higher depressive symptoms compared to those with less constraints. No significant associations were found for intrusive thoughts in either study. Findings demonstrate unique relationships with psychological distress across the lifespan of men with cancer given perception of constraints and adherence to masculine norms about emotionality.


Restrictive emotionality Social constraints Masculinity Cancer disparities Psychological distress 



This work was supported by funds from the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, the Livestrong Foundation, and supported by the National Institutes of Health under Grants T32-MH15750 and SC1-CA187494.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Katie Darabos and Michael A. Hoyt declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, The Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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