Everyone loves the disco classic, "Macho Man," by the Village People, but new research linking machismo to lower life satisfaction scores might have some men changing their tune. A recent study explored the "macho" ethos prized in Latin American cultures. It found that chivalrous, gentlemanly men were more satisfied with their lives than those aligned with the more chauvinistic, aggressive aspects of machismo.
The Arizona State study measured the “Macho” factor for 154 participants (average age 32) using responses to a series of statements such as “Real men should never let down their guard” and “Men are superior to women.” Researchers compared these scores with subjects' ratings on the Satisfaction With Life Scale.
Who turned out to be happiest? Those who respected women, valued family, empathized with others and felt in touch with their emotions. By contrast, the more stereotypically macho men -- characterized by controlling, sexist, and antisocial behavior -- were more glum.
Being overly macho may be harmful to your health -- as well as your serenity. A study of 750 men found those identified as socially dominant (as measured by several markers, including a tendency to interrupt) were 60% more likely to die of any cause during the 22-year investigation period. More recently, Harvard researchers found a link between hostility and decreased lung function. Other research suggests venting your anger -- at other people or inanimate objects -- is more likely to escalate rather than diffuse aggression. Choose meditation over macho menacing to manage stress and protect your brain.
Learn more at the Dole Nutrition Institute.