Accessing services

Its caveman stuff, but that is to a certain extent how guys still operate: Men’s accounts of masculinity and help-seeking
Evidence from focus group discussion indicates that gender can influence both the frequency and nature of access to health services. Willingness to engage with services may be shaped by perceptions of appropriate gender behaviour as reported in the accounts of men who feel that seeking help threatens their masculinity. This of course is mediated by other factors such as life stage and socio-economic status, e.g. the differentials in the frequency of men and women consulting GPs decline with age.

Women, men and coronary heart disease: a review of the qualitative literature
This paper examines the experiences of patients with coronary heart disease. The paper also assesses whether the experiences of both female and male patients are reflected in the literature. Key themes include interpreting symptoms and seeking help, belief about coronary 'candidates' (those at risk from CHD) and relationships with health professionals. The influence of social roles is important: many female patients have difficulties reconciling family responsibilities and medical advice, while male patients worry about being absent from work.

Exploring men's and women's experiences of depression and engagement with health professionals: more similarities than differences? A qualitative interview study 
Interviews with 38 women and men sought to explore gendered similarities and differences in engagement with health professionals for people with depression. It is argued that ways in which women express emotional distress mean that they are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, while men's relative lack of articulacy means their depression is hidden. The paper concludes that health professionals need to be sensitive to patients who have difficulties in expressing emotional distress and be critical of gender stereotypes which suggest that women invariably find it easy to express emotional distress and men invariably find it difficult.

Services just for men? Insights from a national study of the well men services pilots
This research questions that using theories of masculinity to explain men's reluctance to seek help from formal healthcare services is over-simplistic. It also suggests that providing male-specific health services may not significantly address this, with age emerging as more significant than gender. Services that are set up to target men based on the fact that they are 'men', are likely to be ineffective.

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