An evaluation of 40 studies on the state of wellbeing programs
Published in the peer-reviewed open access scientific journal PLoS One, this article examined the state of community and school-based wellbeing programs for boys and young men.
Developing young men’s wellbeing through community and school-based programs: A systematic review
Boys and young men have unique health-related needs that may be poorly met by existing programs and initiatives. The mismatch between the needs of boys and young men and current service offerings–driven largely by social determinants of health such as masculinity–may stymie health status. This is evidenced through high rates of self-stigma, accidental death or suicide, and low rates of help seeking and health literacy among populations of boys and young men.
With growing interest in improving wellbeing and educational outcomes for all young people (including boys and young men), this systematic review aimed to evaluate community and school-based programs with specific focus on program features and outcomes directly relevant to young males aged 12–25 years. Five data-bases were searched; Medline, EMBASE, PsycInfo, ERIC, and ERAD.
Articles were included if they evaluated an intervention or program with a general or at-risk sample of young men, and measured a psychological, psychosocial, masculinity, or educational outcome. The majority of the 40 included studies had high quality reporting (62.5%). Synthesised data included theoretical frameworks, intervention characteristics, outcomes, and key results. Of the included studies, 14 were male-focussed programs, with masculinity approaches directed towards program aims and content information.
The emergent trend indicated that male-targeted interventions may be more beneficial for young men than gender-neutral programs, however, none of these studies incorporated masculine-specific theory as an overarching framework. Furthermore, only three studies measured masculine-specific variables. Studies were limited by a lack of replication and program refinement approaches.
It is concluded that there is significant scope for further development of community and school-based health promotion programs that target young men through incorporation of frameworks that consider the impact of gendered social and environmental determinants of health. Evaluation of these programs will provide researchers and practitioners with the capacity for translating beneficial outcomes into best-practice policy.
Read full article (external link to PloS One Journal)
Kate Gwyther (Orygen: Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia)
Ray Swann (Crowther Centre, Brighton Grammar School, Australia)
Kate Casey (Crowther Centre, Brighton Grammar School, Australia)
Rosemary Purcell (Orygen: Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia)
Simon M Rice, (Orygen: Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia)