“Man up”: Qualitative Findings from the Health Initiatives for Men (HIM) Study

Kathleen A. O'Connor, University of Washington
Shedra Amy Snipes, Pennsylvania State University
Tara K. Hayes-Constant, University of Washington
Marcia Chan Ridley, Premera Blue Cross
Steven M. Goodreau, University of Washington
Benjamin C. Trumble, University of Washington
Diane M. Morrison, University of Washington
Bettina Shell-Duncan, University of Washington
Amanda C. Guyton, University of Washington
Richard S. Pelman, University of Washington

Higher male than female mortality risk across the lifespan may stem from several fundamental health disparities. Limited qualitative research suggests one such disparity may be that men have low engagement in health-related behaviors. We conducted interviews, focus groups and job-follows using a sample of 47 male employees from a Seattle company to assess men’s health norms and knowledge, intentions and behaviors, and incentives and barriers to health. Participants reported their need to “man up” and be more accountable for their health, but felt unable to do so because of barriers both structural (e.g., lack of time due to work, lack of community resources, the complexity and inconvenience of health care), and socio-cultural (e.g. it is not masculine to ask for help; health care focuses on problems, not solutions). Our results indicate that the health care system also has many areas of opportunity to “man up” and to be more responsive to men’s needs.

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Presented in Session 15: Qualitative Methods in Studying Health and Mortality