What is it about?

Highly Sensitive Men are a minority of the male population with a form of neurodivergence leading to increased empathy, feelings of overstimulation, deep thinking, and sensitivity to subtle changes. This paper explores how highly sensitive men experience pressure from traditional gender role expectations to be competitive, dominating, and stoic, which is in conflict with their natural temperament. Our findings suggest that traditional masculine roles lead to increased mental health concerns for highly sensitive boys and men due to this conflict.

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Why is it important?

Rigid gender role expectations have been correlated with mental health concerns for men for a long time. This is the first study to explore how these expectations affect highly sensitive men, whose natural temperament is in direct conflict with these expectations. Our findings suggest that masculine ideology in the United States creates an inherently unhealthy, and at times, hostile environment for highly sensitive men. Understanding these implications is important for anyone who works with boys or men.


This work felt very personal to me. I hope that this article illuminates the toll that rigid gender role expectations takes on the mental health of boys and men, and helps facilitate conversations and change around the ways we socialize boys and men in our society.

Daniel Miller
State University of New York at Oswego

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The gender socialization experiences of highly sensitive men., Psychology of Men & Masculinity, February 2024, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/men0000463.
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