The purpose of this study is to examine the ideals upheld by the traditional male role, activities associated with these ideals, and how the ideals and behaviors affect the aging man. It was hypothesized that traditional gender roles have major effects for elderly men. Studies show that men’s behavior is influenced by masculinity within the male gender role. Physical health, mental health and social relationships can all be impacted by prescribing to traditional roles. Furthering the findings from related literature, an in-depth interview was conducted with Michael, 72. Interview reports support previous studies by showing that Mike’s early life choices (smoking, excessive drinking, prioritizing work over family) reflect masculine ideals. Just as literature suggested, the risky behavior Mike engaged in associated with the traditional male role has led him to suffer physically, mentally and socially. It is concluded that traditional gender roles and associated behaviors create negative consequences in physical, mental and social well-being. By exploring the impact of traditional gender roles on the lives of aging men, we will be able to take this knowledge and apply it to methods to prevent or reverse such effects.
Amy Kelly is a junior at Kent State Stark. She is majoring in human development and family studies with a concentration on family life education. Amy has a passion for learning about social influences and applying that knowledge to the world around her. After graduation, she plans on working in the social service field before returning for a master’s degree in social work. Amy enjoys being an avid health and fitness nut, creating tasty and unique meals and playing with her two year old son.