Masculinity and strokes: The challenges presented to younger men by chronic illness

  • Kvigne K
  • Kirkevold M
  • Martinsen R
 et al. 
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Stroke is a major cause of disability in the Western world, changing not only to the victim's body but also his or her lifestyle. Men tend to experience stroke at a younger age than women. Most people understand stroke as a disease of the elderly, however, this study looks at the effects of stroke on the young adult male. Adolescence, and young- and middle-adulthood are the periods in which the intergenerational dialectics and the interactions between society and the individual are most salient, as it is during these periods that people are completing their education, launching careers, forming intimate relationships, establishing a family and developing an identity. Serious chronic illnesses during these periods may threaten a man's taken-for-granted masculinity. Studies also show that men suffering chronic illness negotiate and renegotiate their masculinity in light of the limitations placed on them by their own and others' understanding of the social and personal consequences of their disease. This current single case study with a narrative approach is drawn from a larger phenomenological study of 16 men suffering from stroke and aims to explore how masculinity is challenged in a young stroke survivor's life. One survivor experienced challenges to his masculinity with respect to those characteristics of masculinity described by Connell and Courtenay: being the family breadwinner, strength, toughness, power, control and independence.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Connell
  • gender and chronic illness
  • masculinity
  • stroke

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  • Kari Kvigne

  • Marit Kirkevold

  • Randi Martinsen

  • Berit Arnsveen Bronken

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