More research needed into men's use of the internet for health

05/03/14 . News

A review of the literature around men’s health-seeking behaviour and use of the internet has been published as part of the development phase of the Men's Health Forum's Haringey Man MOT project.

Haringey literature review coverA Review of the Literature: Men’s Health-seeking Behaviour and Use of the Internet was prepared by the project's researcher Vanessa Bogle. She says that the internet has helped men access health information but that it doesn't change social norms and has called for more research.

Vanessa says: 'The present review has identified that health-seeking behaviour is a complex and dynamic phenomenon. The internet has assisted in transforming the way we acquire health information, support and advice.

'However, simply making the internet available does not guarantee uptake by men. For men to change, a change in social norms is required. In sum, not all men are the same. 

'Research in this area is in its infancy and there is a clear need for further studies to examine the influence of masculinities on how men behave, taking into consideration variables other than gender in order to gain a more complete picture.'

The Haringey Man MOT project, of which this literature review is part, will lead to an online health information service designed by and for the men of Haringey. It will feature live chat with a GP.

The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

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