Generalising men’s affective experiences

Roger Patulny*, Vern Smith, Kai Soh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Existing approaches to understanding gendered emotions have inadequately identified the complexity of masculine affective experience on a macro-social (population) level. The division of social science into quantitative surveys of singular emotions (e.g. happiness) at the macro-social level, or qualitative examinations of multiplex feelings (i.e. multiple emotional/affective sensations experienced simultaneously) at the micro (local) level leaves existing studies unable to generalise and challenge stereotypes about the gendered affective experiences of the population. This paper uses national data from the 2015–2016 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes to show that men’s reported affective experience is characterised by a multiplex of conflicting primary and secondary emotions at the macro-level. Men’s primary surface emotions seem conventional, in that they are relatively more likely to report ‘work’-oriented emotions like enthusiasm, confidence, pride, and assertiveness. However, men are also more likely to report ‘care’-oriented emotions like care and sympathy, stress, loneliness, and anxiety as secondary emotions. Men who report primary feelings of tiredness and frustration are also more likely to report secondary feelings of love. These findings suggest that, at the macro-social level, men experience a multiplex of emotions consistent with being affectively engaged in family as much as working life, and challenge many stereotypes about men’s affective experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-239
Number of pages20
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Gender Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Affect
  • emotions
  • men
  • masculinity
  • anger
  • stress
  • love
  • happiness


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