The positive health and wellbeing of low income British men


  • M. Jestico
  • D.S. Hugh-Jones
  • P.A. Madill


Poor health and premature death across Europe remain most strongly predicted by gender and socioeconomic status, and the comparative life expectancy of low income men has worsened over the last thirty years. As the re-framing of men’s health as in ‘crisis’ does not appear to have effectively mobilised health behaviour change, it suggests that a gulf remains between policy and people’s everyday lives in challenging contexts. This study proposes a radical attentional shift to capture what low income British men are doing for their health, from their perspective, and in their unique circumstances, so that more realistic and workable ways of ‘doing health’ can be supported in this population. The research question is, ‘How do low income British men present their positive health practices’. Unstructured interviews exploring positive health and wellbeing, facilitated with photo-elicitation were audio-recorded with 21 participants from the demographic of interest in Yorkshire, UK and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The main themes from the analysis are Creative life projects for self-improvement, Determination to stay healthy in the face of adversity and Positive Relationships to increase wellbeing. The men all had positive relationships with friends, family or romantic others. This was supplemented by self-improvement or life projects which aimed to benefit their environment, education, health or mental health. The positive health and wellbeing experiences from this data can inform interventions across Europe to help reduce loneliness and suicide for this neglected group and, by so doing, increase life expectancy.





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