Doing and rethinking. Building resilience with men

M. Robinson, S. Robertson, M. Steen, G. Raine, R. Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to present findings from an evaluation of a mental health resilience intervention for unemployed men aged 45-60. The focus is on examining the place of activities within a multi-dimensional men’s mental health programme, and exploring interactions between social context factors and models of change.

The paper draws on before and after survey data and qualitative interviews, to report results concerning effectiveness in changing men’s perceived resilience, to consider project processes concerning activities, social support and coping strategies, and to situate these within wider environments.

The programme significantly raised the perceived resilience of participants. Activities were engaging for men, while the complex intersection between activities, social networking, and coping strategies course provided opportunities for men to develop resilience in contexts resonant with their male identities.

Research limitations/implications
A limitation is that the evaluation could not measure longer term impacts.

Practical implications
The paper discusses emerging considerations for resilience building, focusing on gender-sensitive approaches which can engage and retain men by focusing on doing and talking, in the contexts of men’s life-course, highlighting embodied (male) identities not disembodied “mental states”, and facilitating social support. There are challenges to recruit men despite stigma, support men to speak of feelings, and facilitate progression.

Social implications
Potential exists for gender-aware programmes to sustain salutogenic change, co-producing social assets of peer support, male-friendly activities, and context sensitive course provision.

The paper adds fresh evidence of gendered intervention approaches, including effects on male resilience. Application of a context-sensitive change model leads to multi-component findings for transferring and sustaining programme gains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-198
Number of pages14
JournalMental Health Review Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


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