Masculinity, Coping, and Weightlifting in University Men: A Qualitative Description of Coping and Psychological Benefits

By Eric Hutt and Matthew Numer.

Published by Journal of Sport and Health

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: October 28, 2015 $US5.00

This qualitative study investigated how masculinity interacted with the use of weightlifting as a coping mechanism by university-aged men, and what psychological benefits men perceive in that sport. Participants were four men, aged 19 to 22, who lifted weights between three and six times per week. A qualitative description methodology was used to conduct this research and data was collected through individual semi-structured face-to-face interviews. This study found that participants identified with some traditional masculine ideals and described internal validation through weightlifting. The perceived benefits of weightlifting were experienced by becoming stronger, external validation through compliments from others, and reported social benefits from the gym community. The benefits of weightlifting itself were contextual and could either exacerbate or reduce psychological stress. Participants, however, reported important long-term coping benefits from weightlifting. Overall, engaging in weightlifting helped participants cope with psychological stressors, which could help inform practice in the field of men’s psychological and physical health.

Keywords: Gender, Masculinity, Weightlifting, Exercise Psychology, Coping

Journal of Sport and Health, Volume 6, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.15-27. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: October 28, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 559.093KB)).

Eric Hutt

Student, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Dr. Matthew Numer

Assistant Professor, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada