Sexist comments made by Donald Trump include calling women 'slobs' and 'pigs' – and he was caught on camera saying when that when you are a star you can grab women 'by the p***y... You can do anything' / Getty

Sexism 'is not merely a social injustice, but may also have a detrimental effect on the mental health of those who embrace such attitudes,' says the study's lead author

Men who seek power over women, status and a ‘playboy’ lifestyle are more likely to experience mental health problems, a study has found.

The research, published by the American Psychological Association, measured hows strongly men conformed to traditional masculine norms such as dominance, risk-taking and violence.

Of the behavioural patterns studied, those associated with sexist attitudes were found to be the most harmful to mental health.

The study showed that “'sexism is not merely a social injustice, but may also have a detrimental effect on the mental health of those who embrace such attitudes,” said lead author Joel Wong.

Researchers analysed the wellbeing of more than 19,000 men and to what extent they conformed to traditional notions of masculinity including a desire to win, a need for emotional control, and a disdain for homosexuality.

Almost all of the traditional masculine norms were detrimental to mens' mental health and three were found to be particularly damaging: self-reliance, pursuit of playboy behavior, and power over women.

“In general, individuals who conformed strongly to masculine norms tended to have poorer mental health and less favorable attitudes toward seeking psychological help,” said Mr Wong.

"The masculine norms of playboy and power over women are the norms most closely associated with sexist attitudes."

Only one of the traditional masculine norms, primacy of work – how much importance the subject placed on their job – did not have a significant impact on mental health, said the associate professor at the Indiana University Bloomington.

“Perhaps this is a reflection of the complexity of work and its implications for well-being,” he said.

“An excessive focus on work can be harmful to one's health and interpersonal relationships, but work is also a source of meaning for many individuals.“

While risk-taking was associated with both negative and positive mental health outcomes, the study found that overall, conforming to masculine traits was linked to psychological problems such as depression and substance abuse.

Men who strongly conformed to masculine norms were also less likely to seek mental health treatment, according to the research, which appeared in the Journal of Counseling Psychology.

hefner.jpg
Well-known 'playboy' Hugh Hefner (Getty Images)

Donald Trump has been condemned for his sexist comments. He called Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington a "dog" and comedian Rosie O'Donnell "ugly" and a "slob".

The billionaire reality TV star and US President-elect also dismissed a video in which he said powerful men could "grab [women] by the p***y" as "locker-room banter".

And in August 2015, he said of Republican Primary debate moderator Megyn Kelly "you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever".

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