A Theory of Men’s Help-Seeking from Informal Others for Mental Wellbeing Problems
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis develops a theoretical explanation for men’s help-seeking from informal others for mental wellbeing problems. Derived from semi-structured interviews with twenty two adult males, a constructivist-interpretivistic grounded theory methodological approach is then used, placing an emphasis on men’s own explanations of the phenomenon. The theory suggests that men’s decision making is influenced by three main factors: by their assessment of the ability to control functioning, by their beliefs related to perceived risks and benefits, and by the availability of certain skills and knowledge. This theory also identifies a decision-making style marked by a focus on information, both in providing it in disclosure and receiving it as support. From this theory a model is then developed of a five stage process of men’s decision-making related to their disclosure of mental wellbeing problems. A key factor in this model is that men’s self-assessment of having reached a coping threshold is a strong condition for them deciding to disclose problems to informal others. Overall, the five stage process of decision-making to informal others is described as progressive, meaning that as further decisions to disclose are made, men’s focus increasingly shifts towards the benefits of disclosure and, in particular, the benefits of the experiential knowledge of other men.