Men’s talk about anxiety online: Constructing an authentically anxious identity allows help-seeking

Although anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorder among Australian men, very little is known about men’s experiences of living with, and seeking help for, anxiety. This article examines how male users of an online discussion forum for “anxiety” describe their anxiety in their opening posts. Of particular interest is how such descriptions attend to issues of authenticity and the types of support that men appear to be seeking online. Data were taken from one Australian online anxiety discussion forum over a 2-year period and were analyzed using thematic analysis, informed by principles of discursive psychology. The analysis demonstrates that authenticity of posters’ anxiety is attended to in four main ways: (a) orienting to a diagnosis, (b) detailing the severity of their anxiety, (c) emphasizing the longevity of their anxiety, and (d) constructing themselves as trouble resistant. The findings suggest that the forum partially functions as a site for authentically anxious identities to be tested by forum users. A fifth theme relates to how those identities appeared to serve a particular function in terms of men’s support-seeking behaviors on the forum. This article has clear practical implications for better understanding men’s experiences of anxiety and their anxiety-related help-seeking preferences.

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Drioli-Phillips, P. G., Oxlad, M., LeCouteur, A., Feo, R., & Scholz, B. (2020). Men’s talk about anxiety online: Constructing an authentically anxious identity allows help-seeking. Psychology of Men & Masculinities.

ANU Gender Institute member author
Brett Scholz





Gender Institute

Date posted

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute