A recent study has revealed that young men who don't play soccer or other contact sports may instead seek their highs from alcohol.
According to the study this could explain why scenes of rowdy behavior often accompany the World Cup fever. The study attributes them to feelings of inadequacy.
Psychology researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 31 young men from the 18-to-21 age range hailing from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Their study revealed that men often use one kind of typically masculine behavior to compensate for another.
'For example, men who are not confident in their sporting abilities may try and make up for this by drinking excessively,' said Dr. Richard de Visser, lead researcher from the University of Susse. The research was fundeded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
According to De Visser the aim of their research is to observe 'how men actively construct a masculine identity via healthy and unhealthy behaviors.'
'Rather than masculinity being a singular thing', de Visser reported, 'there are a variety of ways of being masculine, and a range of ways that men test and demonstrate their masculinity -- some of these are healthy (e.g., sports) and some are not (e.g., excessive drinking, risk taking, etc.)'
As de Visser says, ' There is no simple link between masculinity and unhealthy behavior. It all depends on how men use their masculinity.'
Some of the other favorable results of the study was the discovery that credit in one masculine domain often spills over to resist pressure to engage in other masculine behaviors. For instance, 'good sportsmen said that they were able to resist pressure to drink or drink excessively,' according to de Visser.
'The flip side of this is that men who feel that they are not masculine could use unhealthy behaviors like drinking to gain 'masculine' credit,' he added.
As de Visser concludes encouraging men to engage in healthy masculine behaviors would help to reduce anti-social behavior among young men such as violence, binge-drinking and illicit drug-use.