Young men and anxiety: Resisting, reckoning and responding

Krista Fisher, Simon M. Rice, John L. Oliffe, Kylie King, Zac E. Seidler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Anxiety is the most prevalent mental disorder experienced by young men, and when untreated, is predictive of co-morbid mental health challenges and suicide. Despite the rising prevalence, there is a conspicuous absence of qualitative research to distil and theorise young men’s anxiety. Twenty-five young Australian men (15–25 years), who had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or self-reported anxiety symptoms, took part in individual semi-structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a constructivist grounded theory approach. A three-process grounded theory (Resisting-Reckoning-Responding; Triple R Anxiety Model) depicted young men’s experiences of anxiety, gilded and guided by their masculine socialisation. Initially, young men noticed somatic symptoms (i.e., headaches, nausea and myalgia) but did not connect these symptoms to anxiety. Avoiding anxiety (e.g., denying, distracting) proved unhelpful in the longer term and as symptoms diffused, a subsequent process of reckoning anxiety (i.e., meaning making) ensued. As young men gained insight to the life limiting bounds of their anxiety, some were prompted towards actions of acceptance, seeking help proactively and employing strength-based adaptive coping strategies. This theoretical conceptualisation of young men’s anxiety has the capacity to enhance identification and treatment efforts, improving young men’s mental health outcomes across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1462-1482
Number of pages21
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • anxiety
  • grounded theory
  • help-seeking
  • masculinity
  • men
  • mental health

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