The Emotional Age Gap: New Study Reveals Young Men Still Battling Their Feelings

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A new study by Queendom.com & PsychTests.com comparing the emotional intelligence of younger and older men reveals that the latter group continues to struggle against their emotional side.

Men are still struggling to accept and show their emotional side.

Young men continue to hold back from expressing their emotions.

As boys grow up, they’re told to ‘man-up’, ‘toughen up’, or ‘act like a man’ when they face a difficult time, which translates to not showing any form of emotion that would be considered weak.

It’s hard not to ignore the common theme of male characters in movies: The stoic silent type that doesn’t blink an eye in the face of danger, the bad boy who is always emotionally out of reach, or the gruff male character who prefers to display his feelings in actions rather than words. It seems that aside from anger, most male characters rarely show their emotional side. And sadly, it seems that art may be imitating life – or perhaps even the reverse.

Analyzing data from 4203 people who took their Emotional Intelligence Test, researchers at Queendom looked into how men deal with their emotions. What their study revealed was an evident difference between the emotional attitude of younger and older men. While both groups (men under 40 and men over 40) still struggled to accept their emotional side, the problem was more prominent for the younger age group.

According to Queendom’s study:

  • 31% of men under the age of 40 struggle to identify their feelings (compared to 8% of men over 40).
  • 31% of men under the age of 40 find it hard to express their feelings (compared to 17% of men over 40). Why? Well according to 36% of younger men, talking about their feelings requires a degree of vulnerability that they are not comfortable with (compared to 21% of older men).
  • 24% of men under the age of 40 are uneasy displaying affection or appreciation; 23% are uncomfortable when expecting to console someone (compared to 13% of men over 40, in both cases).
  • 44% of men under the age of 40 said that they will do whatever they can to keep themselves from crying (compared to 30% of men over 40).
  • 24% of men under the age of 40 have difficulty snapping out of a bad mood (compared to 13% of men over 40).
  • 13% of men under the age of 40 have difficulty calming themselves down when they are anxious, 23% when they are angry (compared to 8% and 14% of men over 40, respectively).
  • 18% of men under the age of 40 get angry or sad when the smallest thing goes wrong in their life (compared to 8% of men over 40).
  • 32% of men under the age of 40 admit that they are incredibly impatient (compared to 26% of men over 40).
  • 32% of men under the age of 40 avoid discussing touchy or sensitive topics (compared to 25% of men over 40).
  • 33% of men under the age of 40 indicated that people who are overtly emotional make them uncomfortable (compared to 26% of men over 40).
  • 23% of men under the age of 40 said that they don’t know what to say or do when someone gets upset around them; 18% said all they want to do is get away from the person (compared to 11% and 8% of men over 40, respectively).
  • 46% of men under the age of 40 feel awkward in social situations (compared to 33% of men over 40).
  • 17% of men under the age of 40 said that when they make a decision, they “rely purely on logic” rather their gut feelings (compared to 8% of men over 40).
  • 11% of men under the age of 40 said that they would rather be feared than loved (compared to 3% of men over 40).

“We’ve done a great disservice to men – and while it’s partly a media issue, the root of the problem starts in the home,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests, the parent company of Queendom. “When a little boy cries, family members will discourage the behavior, telling him that he’s ‘a big boy, not a baby’. As boys grow up, they’re told to ‘man-up’, ‘toughen up’, or ‘act like a man’ when they face a difficult time, which translates to not showing any form of emotion that would be considered weak, like fear, anxiety, or sadness. Yet at the same time, many women complain that their boyfriend or husband is distant, and that he doesn’t share his emotions. So men are constantly being bombarded with these wildly mixed messages. And the result is destructive. We end up with men who don’t know how to deal with their emotions, or who are only able to show ‘appropriate male emotions,’ like anger. As our study shows, this is particularly true for younger men. They either deny their feelings, or keep them pent-up, unable to cope with them. The problem is, bottled-up emotions will find their way out eventually, often by lashing out in what seems like anger. But anger can often mask emotions that men are unwilling to show, like fear and sadness. I think it’s about time that we stop sending mixed messages to men about the appropriateness of their emotions, and allow them to express what they really feel – without judgment.”

Want to assess your emotional IQ? Check out https://www.queendom.com/tests/access_page/index.htm?idRegTest=3978

Professional users of this test can download a sample report for the MEIQ - R9 (Multidimensional Emotional Intelligence Quotient - 9th Revision) or request a free demo for any assessment from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: Spotting Diamonds in the Rough. (http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr)

About Queendom.com
Queendom.com is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc. Queendom.com is a site that creates an interactive venue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun. The site offers a full range of professional-quality, scientifically validated psychological assessments that empower people to grow and reach their real potential through insightful feedback and detailed, custom-tailored analysis.

About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com). The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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Ilona Jerabek
PsychTests AIM Inc.
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