Journal article Open Access

Job satisfaction, relationship stability, and valuing one's health are the strongest predictors of men's mental well-being

John A. Barry

In recent years, psychologists have applied some of the ideas from positive psychology to the study of masculinity to discover what factors contribute to men’s mental health. This line of research acts as a counterbalance to other research which focuses mainly on problems related to masculinity. This paper describes two surveys – one of 2,000 men in the UK in 2017, and another of 5,000 men in the US in 2018 – which assessed core values and well-being. The main outcome measured was mental well-being, using the Positive Mindset Index (PMI). The surveys were conducted online and were analysed using multiple linear regression. Both surveys found that men typically aspire to moral values such as honesty and reliability more than physical values such as fitness and being athletic. In both surveys, taking other variables into account, the strongest predictor by far of mental positivity was job satisfaction (β = 0.49, p < .0000000001 in the UK, and β = 0.35, p <. 01–85 in the US). Relationship stability was the second strongest predictor of PMI in the UK (β = 0.12, p < .000000001) and marriage was the fifth strongest predictor in the US (β = 0.07, p < .0005). Valuing one’s health was another strong predictor of PMI in both surveys (β = 0.12, p < .000006 in the UK, and β = 0.17, p <.029 in the US). Findings are discussed concerning our understanding of men’s mental health needs. The contrast to the fashionably negative view of masculinity in the media and social sciences is noted.

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