A thematic analysis of men’s help-seeking on an Australian health helpline

Stefanie Lopriore, Deborah Turnbull, Sean A. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and objectives: The current study aimed to qualitatively explore men's help-seeking behaviours by analysing male callers’ talk on an Australian health helpline. Analysis focused on identifying the ways in which men positioned themselves as help-seekers and the extent to which help-seeking behaviours deviated or conformed to the narrative commonly reported on in men's health literature which, generally speaking, positions men as reluctant help-seekers and health service users. Methods: The present study utilised naturally occurring instances of men's help-seeking during 196 calls to the helpline, Healthdirect Australia. Thematic analysis was used to explore recurrent themes in help-seeking interactions. Findings: The analysis yielded three broad themes, which were formulated as caller archetypes. These themes included the ‘reluctant caller’, the ‘unwell patient’ and the ‘concerned carer’, as well as a number of associated sub-themes within these broad categories. Conclusions: The findings demonstrated that male callers sought help in a variety of different ways, rather than prescribing to a homogenous pattern of help-seeking. However, it was acknowledged that some data did align with help-seeking behaviour which indicated men's reluctance to engage with their own health. So what?: The present study contributes to men's health promotion by identifying the various social devices used by men to facilitate help-seeking. The findings highlight the changing and flexible landscape of contemporary masculinity and its impact on health engagement. Recognising the versatility in men's health behaviour is important for ensuring that men have positive experiences during healthcare encounters which, in turn, may facilitate future health service uptake and engagement.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 19 Jan 2021


  • help-seeking
  • men's health
  • telehealth
  • thematic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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