• 21Mar

    How to engage men in self-management support?

    A review by researchers at York University, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), has been published in BMJ Open looking at the effectiveness of self-management support for men with long-term conditions.

    Alongside the review, a manual by the Men’s Health Forum has been published that translates the findings into a practical guide for people designing, delivering or commissioning self-management support services: 

    How to engage men in self-management support_MHF guide

    Despite men being more likely than women to develop long term conditions such as chronic pulmonary disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, less than one-third of participants engaging with some support services are men.  Research into men’s identity and the management of illness reveals that preventable risk factors, poor engagement in self-management, and reluctance to access existing health services account for a high proportion of mortality and morbidity in men.

    The authors reviewed 40 randomised controlled trials of self-management support interventions in men, and 20 randomised controlled trials where an analysis by sex was reported.

    The review asked two questions:

    • How effective are self-management support interventions in men compared with women?
    • Are certain types of self-management support intervention more effective than others in men with LTCs?

    Meta-analysis of the trials suggested that physical activity, education, and peer support-based interventions have a positive impact on quality of life in men. However, there is currently insufficient evidence to make strong statements about whether self-management support interventions show larger, similar or smaller effects in men compared with women and mixed-sex groups.

    The review identified key themes from the evidence that have been shown to be important to men when engaging in self-management support activities. The Manual describes these as:

    • Taking account of men’s identities
    • Identifying and offering a clear benefit with tangible results
    • Building and maintaining a trusted environment
    • Getting value from peer support
    • Education, information and becoming an expert

    The Manual discusses these themes in more detail. It states that education and information provision can be made more accessible for men by considering:

    • Presenting information in the form of strategies that can practically incorporated into everyday life
    • Overly complex information can act as a barrier, although some men place value on technical information and knowledge
    • Men may value learning to better navigate health services and having better dialogue with health professionals
    • Acceptability of health information may be improved through the use of medical evidence and terminology

    The full review article can be read here.

    The manual can be accessed here: How to engage men in self-management support_MHF guide

    Article reference: BMJ Open 2015;5:e006620 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006620, The effectiveness of self-management support interventions for men with long-term conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Paul Galdas, Jennifer Fell, Peter Bower, Lisa Kidd, Christian Blickem, Kerri McPherson, Kate Hunt, Simon Gilbody, Gerry Richardson