Manhood 'is a precarious status'

Manhood is a status that is difficult to obtain but very easy to lose, new research has found. This leaves it in a precarious state and men often use aggression to fend off any threat to it, researchers from the University of South Florida have noted.

Psychologists Jennifer Bosson and Joseph Vandello wrote in Current Directions in Psychological Science, which is a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, that gender role violation can be an important issue for men.

Ms Bosson explained: "Gender is social. Men know this. They are powerfully concerned about how they appear in other people's eyes."

She added that the more males worry about this perception, the more they will suffer psychologically as a consequence.  

The research suggests gender is a social, rather than a biological, phenomenon, Ms Bosson added.

Chartered Psychologist Dr Roger Kingerlee said: "Myth, narrative and ritual since time immemorial have implied that masculinity is a parlous undertaking. Or, as Shakespeare put it, 'uneasy lies the crowned head'."

"This research confirms this notion and provides further emerging evidence of a male-specific profile that, clinically-speaking, can usefully inform the psychological assessment and treatment of men through the lifespan."

Last month, findings from researchers at the University of Warwick showed that men are more prone to leaping to judgements than their female counterparts, while also being more likely to make 'black-and-white' decisions.