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Title: In what ways have women tried to influence their male partners to seek help for a mental health problem?
Author: Rooney, Lauren
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 8860
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2016
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Objective: Previous research suggests that female partners have a key role in encouraging men to seek help from a mental health professional. Men are most likely to talk to a female partner if either are concerned for the men’s mental health. This study investigated the communications female partners use to successfully encourage their male partners to seek help for a mental health problem. Participants/Design: Fifteen women aged 28 to 71 years (M = 38) participated in a 30-50 minute semi-structured interview about their experiences of discussing mental health with their partners. The interviews reached saturation, and were analysed using Thematic Analysis to identify processes used by participants. Results: Five main themes were identified, which took the form of stages in help-seeking. Initially women took “Role Adaption”, and changed their behaviours and roles to reduce the stress on their male partners. Second, the women made “attempts to activate engagement” by having conversations about mental health and the benefits of help-seeking with their male partners, however the men did not always engage in this conversation. Third, men responded with “men’s management”, where they considered their coping mechanisms, managed stigma and thought about the cause of their mental health issues. In the fourth stage, the majority of couples entered “resolution” where they had two-way conversations which resulted in the men either seeking help, carrying on without change or considering and attempting suicide. The fifth theme captured the “dynamics of control” where the women usually assumed responsibility for the man’s safety, but would offer him control to help-seek. Conclusions: Female partners have a key role in supporting men to seek help from a professional and in maintaining their safety. Women strive to make this communication adaptive and useful, and these strategies could be utilised by others to encourage men to seek help from professionals.
Supervisor: John, Mary ; Morison, Linda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available