Indian and Pakistani Men’s Accounts of Seeking Medical Help for Cardiac Chest Pain in the United Kingdom: Constructions of Marginalised Masculinity or Another Version of Hegemonic Masculinity?

Paul Michael Galdas, F M Cheater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article we present findings from 20 in-depth interviews with Indian and
Pakistani men diagnosed with angina or myocardial infarction that explored their
experiences of interpreting, and acting upon, their cardiac symptoms. By employing a social constructionist gender analysis, we explore the extent to which social constructions of masculinity intersected with men’s help-seeking decision-making process, and how these were played out in relation to dominant Western versions of masculinity that emphasise the need for men to be stoical and self-reliant in the face of illness. Contrary to current empirical evidence, most participants in this study talked of their decision to seek medical help promptly and most distanced themselves from Western masculine stereotypes. The categories we identified contrast with previous hypotheses that ethnic
minority men use constructs of Western masculinity to protect and defend a compromised masculine identity. This study highlights the need for health professionals to be aware of the complexity of male gender so as to avoid universalising, essentialist assumptions about the influence of masculinities on men’s help-seeking behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-139
Number of pages18
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • coronary heart disease
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • help-seeking health behaviours

Cite this