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'Do-It-Yourself' Projects May Boost White-Collar Males' Self-Image

TUESDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Those "do-it-yourself" projects that office-bound males enjoy on the weekend may be enhancing their self-image, a new study finds.

"For upper-class men, DIY home improvement is a therapeutic escape from the burdens of knowledge work, allowing them to experience a blue-collar fantasy by working with their hands," Risto Moisio, of California State University, Long Beach, and colleagues said in a news release from the Journal of Consumer Research, which published the findings online.

For the study, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with men in different social classes to determine how DIY projects help them develop their masculine identities.

For upper-class, white-collar males, these activities appear to offer a way of expressing their creative side, the investigators found. In contrast to their day jobs, home-renovation projects allow these men to unleash their inner craftsman and enjoy some physical labor while getting a sense of self-fulfillment in the process.

Lower-class men often have different motivations, according to the study findings, which are scheduled for publication in the August print issue of the journal.

For men who don't make a big salary, home-improvement projects may enable them to assert their identity as the "family handyman" and to express a masculine form of caring for their families by providing them with nicer homes despite a lack of money, the study authors explained.

"Lower-class men treat DIY home improvement as a chore rather than a therapeutic outlet," the researchers said in the news release. "Projects around the house represent an essential part of their male territory and housework repertoire."

More information

Underwriters Laboratories, a product-safety testing organization, offers safety tips for do-it-yourselfers.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of Consumer Research, news release, April 9, 2013

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