Research shows that men are far less likely to seek therapy than women when confronted with anxiety, depression, anger or other psychological problems. Although this clearly suggests that many men are being undertreated for significant mental health issues, this dynamic also affects the field of research. C. Edward Watkins, Jr. Ph.D., of the University of North Texas, recently asked an essential question, “How many men have actually been involved in short-term and long-term psychodynamic treatment research?” Watkins looked at 86 separate studies from six reviews over the last ten years to find an answer. “Those six reviews/meta-analyses were selected for scrutiny because they covered a broad spectrum of disorders (mental and physical), have received considerable attention in the medical, psychiatric, and psychological literature, and have appeared in what are well-respected, peer-reviewed medical, psychiatric, or psychoanalytic journals,” said Watkins.
Watkins realized that overall women were represented more than men in clinical studies, 60% versus 40%. Additionally, Watkins noticed that a large portion of the studies that did have male subjects tended to focus on addiction issues, leaving many other psychological treatment studies void of male data. Overall, he found that 11% of the studies had no male participants at all, and 23% of the studies only contained data from six males or less. “We clearly see here both positives and negatives to our picture,” said Watkins. “Male research participants tend to be more difﬁcult to secure than females in psychological research generally; that appears to be no less so for both short-term and long-term psychodynamic treatment research. In our efforts to amass the most complete, fully informed, and ever-informative female and male psychodynamic treatment database upon which to draw, that may well be an enduring problem with which we as researchers will have to continue to struggle and work to creatively address in the decades ahead.”
Watkins, C. E., Jr. (2011, August 29). THE STUDY OF MEN IN SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM PSYCHODYNAMIC PSYCHOTHERAPY: A Brief Research Note. Psychoanalytic Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0025183
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