Impact of social expectations for dyspraxic men
For some dyspraxic men, struggling with sports and coordination can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, and low self-esteem. This can contribute to a negative self-image and feelings of inadequacy, which can have a significant impact on mental health due to gendered social pressures.
Furthermore, men who struggle with sports and coordination (whether dyspraxia related or not) may be more likely to avoid physical activity as a result, which can lead to a range of associated health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. These health issues can also impact mental health, as they can lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety, and depression.
It is important to note that seeking help and support from mental health professionals and/or coaches can significantly improve mental health outcomes for men who struggle with sports and coordination. Additionally, focusing on physical activities that are enjoyable and less competitive can also enhance mental health and overall well-being where physical ability allows.
It is imperative to recognise that societal "norms" do not reflect real-life situations, especially when reflecting on factors such as disability. However societal "norms" must be taken into consideration when we look at why men and young boys are more likely to be singled out for sports and movement-based struggles. This can and does work in their favour in terms of gaining a diagnosis and has been proven in recent studies as the reason why men and boys are more likely to receive a movement-based diagnosis. However, the mental health impacts remain very much the same due to social expectations. Here are some examples of why that might be:
Social Expectations: Society has certain expectations of boys to be physically strong, active, and competitive. These expectations are often reinforced through media, sports, and other cultural norms. As a result, physical struggles in boys are more likely to be noticed and discussed.
Gendered Stereotypes: Gender stereotypes assume that boys should be assertive, brave, and adventurous, while girls should be quiet, submissive, and gentle. Consequently, boys may be more likely to engage in physical activities and take risks that lead to injuries. Girls are not immune to injuries, but their injuries may go unnoticed or not be taken as seriously as those of boys.
Physical Differences: Boys tend to have a higher level of physical activity and sports participation than girls. The other examples given are a factor of this. And so as a result boys typically have more muscle mass and higher metabolism, which can make them more prone to physical injuries.
Parental Attitudes: Parents may be more likely to encourage their sons to participate in physical activities and sports, while being more protective of their daughters. This may lead to boys being more prone to physical injuries, and their injuries may be more likely to be noticed and taken seriously.
Biological Factors: Boys tend to have higher levels of testosterone after they reach adolescence, which can contribute to their more 'aggressive' behaviour and physical activity levels. This can also make them more prone to physical injuries.
It is important to note that these are generalizations and are not applicable to all individuals. Both men and women can experience physical and mental health struggles, and it is essential to provide support and attention to both genders equally. Based on the discussed factors, these are some of the reasons why we believe men's health is affected.