O'Brien R, Hunt K & Hart G (2009) 'The average Scottish man has a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, lying there with a portion of chips': Prospects for change in Scottish men's constructions of masculinity and their health-related beliefs and behaviours. Critical Public Health, 19 (3-4), pp. 363-381. https://doi.org/10.1080/09581590902939774
Men's apparent resistance to recommended health practices and their engagement with 'high-risk' behaviours has been associated with an increased risk of morbidity or mortality. Recent work has highlighted the need to think critically about the health-promoting behaviours that men appear reluctant to engage in, as well as examining those they embrace, and explore the gendered meanings that men attribute to their beliefs and behaviours. This article presents men's discussions of the 'practices of masculinity' and examines their relation to, and implications for, men's health-related behaviours as articulated in 15 focus group discussions (59 participants in total). The data capture both the experiences of men who felt pressured to engage in behaviours that may be harmful to their health in order to appear masculine and the accounts of those who regarded themselves as freer to embrace salutogenic health practices. Less is known about the circumstances that might encourage men to re-think their engagement in performances of masculinity that have potentially detrimental effects on their health. The data presented here suggest that ageing, illness, and fatherhood were some of the experiences that prompted men to re-evaluate their health practices.
sociology of health; health behaviour; identity
Critical Public Health: Volume 19, Issue 3-4