Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Psychology) Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Science

Faculty

Health, Engineering and Science

First Advisor

Dr Madalena Grobbelaar

Abstract

Men are commonly and consistently underrepresented in global depression rates, however figure predominantly in rates for substance abuse and suicide. It has been suggested that men’s under-utilisation of mental health services accounts for the discrepancy between the genders and that hegemonic masculine stereotypes have created a barrier for males in seeking help for mood disorders. The use of Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) has been expanding globally, with research showing in some instances of self-diagnosed depression and anxiety, CAM is being utilised more often than mainstream health care services. The present study explored the personal meanings of males who currently use CAM in Western Australia. The objective was to examine male motivations towards CAM use and their interpretations of men’s health issues. Eight self-selected participants, from three procedure-based CAM (Yoga, Applied Kinesiology, Meditation), were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to construct a framework for understanding the personal meanings of the participants’ experiences. Four overarching themes were identified and discussed: (1) Male depression; Experience and expression, (2) Environmental influence, (3) CAM use to develop positive mental habits over time, and (4) CAM benefits of self-awareness, self-care and self-responsibility. CAM users report positive benefits in their thoughts, moods and behaviours, however feel restricted in talking about their positive experiences among some peer groups. Conclusions are made regarding the role societal expectations play on the expression of emotions for men. Limitations of this study and future directions are discussed.

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