How can a theoretical framework be used to better understand the influence of norms of masculinity on men’s health, how these social norms create health disparities among men, and to provide direction for health interventions aimed at men?
This article presents such a framework called the health, illness, men and masculinities (HIMM) framework. The authors justify the need for this framework given that the literature tends to oversimply reasons for men’s health, and the limited research that seeks to understand how men’s lives and masculinities are related to health and illness. The authors also argue that little attention has been given to everyday practices linked to masculinity and their effects on men’s health, including marginalised groups of men who experience poorer health outcomes.
The HIMM framework is used to demonstrate how masculinity and men’s health are interconnected, how this changes over the lifecourse and particular vulnerabilities among specific age groups of men, how masculinity and men’s health is related to the wider social context, and how it intersects with other determinants including socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, and employment. Using examples of health risks across men’s lifecourse, the authors conclude that social norms of masculinity are the strongest predictors of men’s health risk behaviour. They also review examples of interventions that have been responsive to particular men’s health issues or targeted specific sub groups of men.