‘I know you shouldn't compare to other people, but I can’t do anything most people can’: Age, family and occupation categorisations in men’s reasoning about their anxiety in an online discussion forum

Phoebe G. Drioli-Phillips, Amanda Le Couteur, Melissa Oxlad, Rebecca Feo, Brett Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite its prevalence, men's anxiety is arguably under-researched and poorly understood. The present study explores the reasoning provided by male posters to an online discussion forum about the source of their anxiety. Posts were collected from an Australian anxiety online discussion forum. This study utilises discursive psychology, informed by principles of membership categorisation analysis, to describe how age, occupation and family-related identities can be invoked within common sense reasoning about the source of male anxiety. References to various identity categories were routinely employed by male forum posters in their representations of themselves, in order to describe the source of their anxiety in terms of a contrast between how they are, and how they should be. In examining accounts of anxiety and responses to those accounts, we can trace cultural knowledge about issues regarding men, masculinity and anxiety that those accounts make relevant. Findings illustrate how men's descriptions of the source of their anxiety should be understood as culturally bound and related to expectations and obligations associated with their social context and category memberships. By enhancing understandings of how men describe the source of their anxiety, this study offers insight into improving the identification and engagement of men experiencing anxiety in health services.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • masculinity
  • membership categorisation analysis
  • men
  • online discussion forums

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