Denial of burnout in men: a problem of masculinity

No longer able to stand up and admit that we are “failing”: Reinforced by the health crisis, burnout affects women more, but men are also affected and may be “less inclined to seek help”.

Women are “more affected by burnout,” says psychiatrist Patrick Légeron, who co-authored a report on the subject for the Academy of Medicine in 2016. The reasons? Occupations that are more factors of exhaustion and management of home life. “The double punishment”, emphasizes the doctor, who consults at the Saint-Anne psychiatric hospital in Paris.

But “men have a lot more trouble” than women, when a burnout starts, “to recognize these signals for themselves”. They are sometimes ‘in denial’ and ‘less likely to seek help’.

Women find it easier to express their emotions. It is not linked to characteristics related to gender, but to socio-cultural characteristics, as the man must be courageous and show no signs of weakness. †

“Masculine Problems”

In a contribution to New York Timessays ex-teacher Jonathan Malesic (from personal experience): “When men encounter difficulties, at work or elsewhere, they are less likely to talk about it”in public or privately.

“We are still in a society where men try to prove their masculinity through their skills at work”he adds in an article titled how men burn out

“Without falling into sexist clichés, there is often a question of masculinity in men, which women will accept more easily” what could be seen as “a failure,” notes Théo, 24, who went through a burnout a year ago.

This burnout is described by the WHO as “a syndrome (…) resulting from chronic stress at work that has not been successfully addressed”. It comes with a form of distance (managing things like robots) and a loss of professional efficiency.

With the pandemic, the company Empreinte Humaine, specializing in the prevention of psychosocial risks, has measured burnout “almost three times more” in the autumn compared to the beginning of the crisis, to theAFP its chairman Christophe Nguyen.

A recent study found that women are ‘more exhausted than men’, as well as managers (preferably men) more tired and more likely to burn out, says Mr. Nguyen.

According to Mr Légeron, “About two-thirds of burnouts are related to working conditions and one-third to personality”with an overinvestment of people in their work, a trait more common in men and which “weakens” them.


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