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Key health promotion factors among male members of staff at a higher educational institution: A cross-sectional postal survey

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      Abstract

      BackgroundMen's lifestyles are generally less healthy than women's. This study identifies associations between health-related behaviour in different groups of men working in a Higher Education (HE) institution. In addition, men were asked whether they regarded their health-related behaviours as a concern. This article highlights smoking, consumption of alcohol and physical activity as most common men's health-related lifestyle behaviours.MethodsA descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted among all male staff employed by a Higher Education institute in Scotland using a postal self-completed questionnaire. A total of 1,335 questionnaires were distributed and 501 were returned completed (38% return rate). The data were analysed using SPSS 13.0 for Windows.ResultsLess than 10% currently smoked and almost 44% of these smokers were light smokers. Marital status, job title, consumption of alcohol and physical activity level were the major factors associated with smoking behaviour. Men in manual jobs were far more likely to smoke. Nearly all (90%) consumed alcohol, and almost 37% had more than recommended eight units of alcohol per day at least once a week and 16% had more than 21 units weekly. Younger men reported higher amount of units of alcohol on their heaviest day and per week. Approximately 80% were physically active, but less than 40% met the current Government guidelines for moderate physical activity. Most men wanted to increase their activity level.ConclusionThere are areas of health-related behaviour, which should be addressed in populations of this kind. Needs assessment could indicate which public health interventions would be most appropriately aimed at this target group. However, the low response rate calls for some caution in interpreting our findings.

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      Men and health help-seeking behaviour: literature review.

      This paper reviews the key research literature regarding men's health-related help seeking behaviour. There is a growing body of research in the United States to suggest that men are less likely than women to seek help from health professionals for problems as diverse as depression, substance abuse, physical disabilities and stressful life events. Previous research has revealed that the principle health related issue facing men in the UK is their reluctance to seek access to health services. The investigation of men's health-related help seeking behaviour has great potential for improving both men and women's lives and reducing national health costs through the development of responsive and effective interventions. A search of the literature was conducted using CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO and the Cochrane Library databases. Studies comparing men and women are inadequate in explaining the processes involved in men's help seeking behaviour. However, the growing body of gender-specific studies highlights a trend of delayed help seeking when they become ill. A prominent theme among white middle class men implicates "traditional masculine behaviour" as an explanation for delays in seeking help among men who experience illness. The reasons and processes behind this issue, however, have received limited attention. Principally, the role of masculine beliefs and the similarities and differences between men of differing background requires further attention, particularly given the health inequalities that exist between men of differing socio-economic status and ethnicity. Further research using heterogeneous samples is required in order to gain a greater understanding of the triggers and barriers associated with the decision making process of help seeking behaviour in men who experience illness.
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        'It's caveman stuff, but that is to a certain extent how guys still operate': men's accounts of masculinity and help seeking.

        It is often assumed that men are reluctant to seek medical care. However, despite growing interest in masculinity and men's health, few studies have focussed on men's experiences of consultation in relation to their constructions of masculinity. Those that have are largely based on men with diseases of the male body (testicular and prostate cancer) or those which have been stereotyped as male (coronary heart disease). This paper presents discussions and experiences of help seeking and its relation to, and implications for, the practice of masculinity amongst a diversity of men in Scotland, as articulated in focus group discussions. The discussions did indeed suggest a widespread endorsement of a 'hegemonic' view that men 'should' be reluctant to seek help, particularly amongst younger men. However, they also included instances which questioned or went against this apparent reluctance to seek help. These were themselves linked with masculinity: help seeking was more quickly embraced when it was perceived as a means to preserve or restore another, more valued, enactment of masculinity (e.g. working as a fire-fighter, or maintaining sexual performance or function). Few other studies have emphasised how men negotiate deviations from the hegemonic view of help-seeking.
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          Health and Lifestyles

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Public Health, Polwarth Building, Medical School, Foresterhill, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD, UK
            Contributors
            Journal
            BMC Public Health
            BMC Public Health
            BioMed Central
            1471-2458
            2008
            12 February 2008
            : 8
            : 58
            2270269
            1471-2458-8-58
            18269744
            10.1186/1471-2458-8-58
            Copyright © 2008 Vasianovich et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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            Research Article

            Public health

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