“Real men” need keepsakes too: both Italian men and women use inanimate objects to cope with separation
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SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Sopot, Poland
University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy
Submission date: 2021-04-06
Final revision date: 2021-06-16
Acceptance date: 2021-06-28
Online publication date: 2021-07-28
Publication date: 2022-04-29
Using tangible objects to alleviate distress contradicts the traditional masculinity that is stereotypically attributed to Italian men. This study tested whether the willingness to use a photograph of a romantic partner as a substitute for that person and as a cue for nostalgia in the situation of unavoidable separation depends on gender and conformity to the traditional masculine norms of Italian adults.

Material and methods:
The study involved 119 Italian adults. Participants were randomly assigned to the separation or the connection condition. Next, they described the willingness to use a photograph of their partner as a substitute and as a cue for nostalgia; then we measured men’s differences in their conformity to masculine norms.

We did not find support for the hypotheses that gender or traditional masculine norms impede using inanimate objects to regulate emotions.

It is worth considering photographs as reminders of social bonds that are accessible for both men and women.

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