Chauhan, Priyanka (2016) A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Exploration of Crying and Tearfulness in Young Men. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.
Abstract

Past research has shown that some young westernised men perceive crying to be more acceptable than the older generation of men. The majority of crying literature however has focused on trying to produce an explanation for why men cry less frequently than women. The experience of crying and tearfulness in young men, therefore, has received limited attention. In attempting to understand how crying is made sense of by young men and what meaning it holds to them, the current study adopted a hermeneutic phenomenological methodological approach. Using a purposive sampling technique, nine young men aged eighteen to twenty-four were recruited to take part in semi-structured interviews. The participants were asked to reflect on two contrasting examples of a time they had cried or were tearful, the transcribed data was then analysed using template analysis. Crying was found to be an intense and embodied experience of feeling that was often evoked by an unanticipated and unwanted situation. On some occasions, the young men engaged with their feelings related to the emotional situation, whereas at other times the participants struggled to cry freely and comfortably. In particular, many of the participants identified a sense of discomfort and difficulty in crying in front of men but not women. The perception that crying is unmanly restricted the participants’ ability to explore and engage with their feelings. Many of the participants battled between the view that crying in men is a sign of weakness, irrationality and immaturity but at the same time they argued that it is a natural human quality. The overall experience and outcome of crying in young men was thus influenced by the immediate and wider sociocultural context concerning constructions of masculinity.

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