Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Health, Physical Education, and Recreation


The study of men’s health behaviors has received a great deal of attention worldwide. Studies have been conducted to identify determinates related to men’s health care usage. Masculinity and spousal control are well accepted determinates of men’s health care seeking. However, the concept of masculine capital and how it factors into men’s health care seeking has been a relatively new topic of research. The researchers do not believe there has been a study to date that examines the social control wives place on their husbands, and how that social control may influence their spouses’ health, how masculinity plays into men’s health behaviors, and how men maintain masculine capital in the face of social control, if at all. Therefore, this study sought to examine how masculinity and the social control wives placed on their husbands intersected.

The purpose of this study was twofold. First, the study sought to gain a greater understanding of how wives exert social control over spousal health behaviors. Second, the study sought to examine how men maintain masculinity, specifically masculine capital in the face of social control that their wives placed on their health behaviors. Focus groups were conducted with married male participants in Cache County, Utah. Umberson’s 1987 model of social control was modified to analyze the data. The constructs of masculinity and masculine capital were added to Umberson’s original constructs of family relationships, social control, health behaviors, and physical health/mortality. In addition, the construct of social control was substituted for spousal social control.

At the conclusion of the research study, the research team changed the unidirectional arrows leading from the concept of masculinity and masculine capital to bidirectional arrows to reflect the idea that masculinity and masculine capital not only affect the concept of family relationships, spousal social control, and health behaviors, but those elements in turn affect masculinity and masculine capital. The researchers found the updated proposed model to be accurate in that masculinity and masculine capital influence many realms of a man’s life and that spousal social control can have a great influence on a man’s health-related behaviors and physical health.