Men's self-perceptions of masculinity in response to acquired illness or injury and subsequent changes in occupational roles.
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Science
Hegemonic Masculinity informs every aspect of a man’s life regardless of whether they conform to the standards or reject them. Although masculinity informs occupational roles, it can also be seen as an occupation in its own right. Illnesses and injuries can challenge masculine status and result in loss of identity, as well as changing men’s abilities, transforming their occupational roles and providing a challenge to their self-perception of masculinity. There are significant gaps in the literature; particularly regarding the impact health status has on masculine perceptions within a New Zealand context and the idea of masculinity as an occupation. This study goes someway to address these gaps. A qualitative descriptive methodology was employed to understand and describe the stories of 12 men living with the ongoing effects of illness or injury. A general inductive approach to content analysis was undertaken to identify the key themes. The study’s findings show illness and injury and the subsequent changes in occupational roles had a significant impact on participants’ masculine perceptions. Study participants experienced loss in many areas of their lives and described being occupied in recreating and renegotiating their masculinity in varying areas such as work, personal relationships and social activities. Further research, conducted within a New Zealand context, will be invaluable in validating the current findings in this area. The application of this knowledge is an area requiring extensive exploration and research. There is significant scope for healthcare professionals to gain understanding of men’s relationship to, and their self-perceptions of, masculinity and to utilise and incorporate these findings into therapeutic settings, therefore gaining more valuable outcomes for their clients.