help seeking, masculinity, men’s health, mental health


Men often express less emotion than women do, are hesitant to express weakness, and seek professional help much less frequently than do their female counterparts. The lack of help seeking is common across characteristics such as age, race, ethnicity, and nationality. Authors used data from the 2006 General Social Surveys mental health module to suggest that the gender gap in help seeking may be rooted in attitudes regarding help-seeking behaviors generally. Using structural equation modeling, we linked vignette type (depression and schizophrenia) to the endorsement of help seeking from informal and formal sources. Men showed similar support for informal help seeking regardless of the problem but were less likely to endorse formal help for depression. Furthermore, men were no more or less likely than women to endorse help seeking if the individual in the vignette was male or female. Results show some support for the hypothesis that men are less prone than women to display positive help-seeking attitudes, particularly related to common mental health issues. This may help researchers and clinicians better understand the numerous barriers to men’s help seeking.

Original Publication Citation

Wendt, D.* & Shafer, K. (2016). “Gender Differences in Help Seeking Attitudes: Results from National Data.” Health & Social Work, 41(1): e20-e28.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Health & Social Work




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor