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Psychological inflexibility mediates the relationship between conformity to masculine norms and depression: Preliminary support for a transdiagnostic approach to working therapeutically with men (Pages 210-216)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)

Volume 26, October 2022, Pages 210-216


Danielle Herreen, Simon Rice, Ian Zajac



Research suggests that rigid adherence to masculine norms is associated with negative mental health outcomes in men. However, contributing pathways between masculine norms and men's mental health are not yet well understood. It has been proposed that psychological inflexibility may function as a mediator in the relationship between masculine norms and depression in men.


This study investigated whether psychological inflexibility mediated the relationship between conformity to masculine norms and depression.


A community-based sample of 326 men (M age = 62.33, SD age = 15.33 years) completed an online questionnaire using a range of validated scales, including the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory (CMNI-22), the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (AAQ-II), the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire (CFQ-7), the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and the Male Depression Risk Scale (MDRS-22). Mediation analyses and two-way ANOVAs were used to explore relationships between variables.


Results indicated that psychological inflexibility significantly mediated the relationship between conformity to masculine norms and depression (both prototypic and externalising symptomology). Findings also revealed that psychological inflexibility is more strongly linked with poor mental health than conformity to masculine norms.


The results suggest that psychological inflexibility may be a possible pathway through which conformity to masculine norms is associated with depressive symptoms in men, providing important insights into possible therapeutic targets for psychological intervention.

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