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Masculinities, work and retirement among older men who experience depression

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Publication details

JournalQualitative Health Research
DatePublished - Dec 2013
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1626-1637
Original languageEnglish


The high incidence of depression among older men has been linked to numerous factors. In this study of 30 older men who experience depression, we explored the connections between participants’ depression, masculinities, work and retirement. Our analyses revealed three thematic findings. The recursive relationship between depression and work is reflected in depression impeding and emerging from paid work, whereby men’s careers and work achievements were negatively impacted by depression amid assertions that unfulfilling work could also invoke depression. Lost or unrealized empires highlighted the centrality of wealth accumulation and negative impact of many participants’ unfulfilled paid work aspirations. Retirement as loss and the therapeutic value of work reflected how masculine ideals influenced men to work for as long as they could to avoid the losses they associated with retirement. The findings confirm the need to support men’s work-related transitions by affirming a diversity of masculine identities beyond traditional workman/breadwinner roles.

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