Men who want to seem manly are more likely to use marijuana, according to a study conducted by researches from Yale School of Public Health and the University of Pittsburgh, who investigated factors that lead to cannabis use in young men.
Since the study focused exclusively on young men, the researchers decided to gauge participants' marijuana use against their perceptions of masculinity.
“We found that as men’s endorsement of traditional masculinity rose, so did men’s engagement in marijuana use,” Andre Brown, co-author of the study, told Yale Daily News.
Brown believes that has to do with the fact that men are often expected to refrain from displaying emotions and may turn to cannabis as a means to deal with stress. Perceptions of men as tough risk-takers may also contribute to excessive drug use.
But Brown says that perceptions of masculinity aren't all bad. Since men are also expected to be self-reliant, many may actually be more likely to refrain from substance abuse and indulge in a healthier manner.
The study also found disadvantaged neighborhoods are more prone to drug abuse. Lead author Tamara Taggart hopes their findings will lead to better understandings of how an individual's social and economic realities lead to unhealthy drug use.
“Poverty underlies practically every health disparity that we can think about, from cancer to homicide to diabetes,” Brown said. “Certainly there is something about poverty that needs to be addressed that supersedes all of these health conditions, including marijuana use. I really want to think about how we can use this research to influence health policy and social policy to get more resources into marginalized communities and build them up.”