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Men’s Health Research from the Perspective of Andrology

  • Vivian WL Tsang1
  • Richard J. Wassersug2

1Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

2Department of Medical Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

3 Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

4 and the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia

DOI: 10.22374/1875-6859.14.3.2 Vol.14,Issue 3,June 2018 pp.20-32

Published: 07 June 2018

*Corresponding Author(s): Vivian WL Tsang E-mail:


Background and Objective

We explore here men’s health research as practiced by health sociologists versus andrologists.

Material and Methods

We start by examining the occurrences of terms related to sex and gender in the literature of the two fields as a way to characterize and contrast their disciplinary differences. A sample of 30 terms that directly or indirectly related to sex and gender were searched in Google Scholar and the ratios of each term’s appear-ance within the literature for the two disciplines was recorded. Chi-squared tests assessed the statistical differences between the usage of each term in the two fields.


Of the terms we sampled, only “penis,” “penile,” “testicles,” and “libido” did not differ significantly in their relative occurrence within either discipline’s publications. Words and phrases linked to gender, such as masculine, masculinity, and manhood, were significantly more common in “men’s health research” where gender is commonly construed as a social construct. We suggest, however, that the evidence for gender being purely a social construct is limited and neither necessary nor accepted as such within andrology. Andrology and men’s health research, we argue, are different disciplines in terms of research methodologies and self-defined disciplinary borders. The presumption that gender is a social construct, though common within health sociology, is not implicit in andrology. Many problems in men’s health that have been assumed to be the products of enculturation have in fact a biological basis. However, solutions to those problems are often outside the domain of biomedicine and are more amenable to social solutions. We suggest that men’s health could be most effectively advanced if men’s health researchers and andrologists understood what divides their disciplines and made more effort to bridge that divide.

Cite and Share

Vivian WL Tsang,Richard J. Wassersug. MEN’S HEALTH RESEARCH VERSUS ANDROLOGY—DEFINING THE DIVISION AND CLOSING THE DIVIDEMen’s Health Research from the Perspective of Andrology. Journal of Men's Health. 2018. 14(3);20-32.


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