Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Social Work Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Susan Young

Second Supervisor

Elizabeth Lindsay

Third Supervisor

Pauline Meemeduma


The purpose of this research was to explore how men understand the concept of health, and how this understanding shapes actions. This dissertation developed as a result of both working at a Community Health Centre, and having an awareness that in Australia, statistics indicate that men's health is steadily deteriorating. A theoretical framework implementing the concepts of health, socialisation (masculinity) and cognition was utilised to guide the research. The research involved interviewing six male participants, who were university students ranging in age from 20 to 40 years. Participants were questioned regarding their perceptions of health and health management. Interview transcripts were analysed utilising a symbolic interaction perspective, where the five major themes of family I friends, personal experience, exercise, food, and seriousness of concern emerged. The results of the study indicate that when analysing the five major themes, the concepts of health and cognition impacted upon participants responses to health concerns and health management. In contrast, men did not explicitly discuss masculinity as impacting upon health concerns or health management. Future research to explore how men understand the concept of health and how this understanding shapes actions could focus upon age differences, gender comparisons, or individuals not studying at university.