“TOXIC masculinity” might be responsible for an increase in violence among young men, investigators believe.

The term refers to behaviours and attitudes commonly associated with men - such as the need to repress emotions during stressful situations and to act in an aggressively dominant way.

There are significantly more males in young offenders institutes and pupil referral units in Greater Manchester than females.

A study looking into a rise in aggressive crime in the region has shone a spotlight on the issue and the link with toxic masculinity.

After interviewing 350 people across the region it concluded that young men and boys are being told more than ever that “retaliation is a strength and emotions other than aggression are feminine”.

READ MORE: Shocking figures show youth violence and knife crime 'rising in Bolton schools'

This was tied to communication over social media and an increased pressure to portray a particular image.

Phrases that came up include young men commonly being told “don’t cry”, “act tough” and “don’t be a p****”.

It is believed this can create peer pressure on some youths to get involved in crime, carry weapons or act in an overly aggressive manner towards other people.

One anonymous Bolton youth worker said: “There are so many images of people with BMWs and a vodka bottle with fire on it on holiday, like they have made it.

“But that is not the reality behind the screen and it just creates so much pressure.”

The examples suggested a lot of fights among these young people were triggered by relatively small things, including just comments or a look and several teachers told the investigation that some pupils lacked education on conflict resolution.

One explained: “Lots of children grow up with an ill-advised perception of how to stand up for what they believe in. Education on resolving conflict and how to walk away is very important.”

READ MORE: Social media could be ‘amplifying conflict and aggression' in Bolton's schools

In addition, there was a noted rise in “unhealthy” relationships between young men and women and girls.

A number of youth workers reported more misogynistic language and attitudes towards women, including a rise in “sexually inappropriate behaviour”.

One particularly worrying example included a 10-year-old girl who told the investigators she had received an anonymous message on Snapchat saying “I am going to find you and rape you”.