Men's help-seeking and engagement with general practice: An integrative review

Publication Name

Journal of Advanced Nursing


Aim: To critically synthesize the literature that describes men's help-seeking and engagement with general practice. Design: Integrative literature review. Data sources: CINAHL plus, Medline and APA PsycInfo were searched for papers published between 1999 and March 2021. Review methods: After screening titles and abstracts, full-text papers were screened against inclusion / exclusion criteria. All included papers were assessed for methodological quality. Findings were extracted, critically examined and synthesized into themes. Results: Twenty studies met the inclusion criteria. Thematic analysis revealed four themes related to; (1) structural barriers, (2) internal barriers, (3) men's understanding of the role of general practice, and (4) self-care and help-seeking. The findings indicate that men can find general practice unwelcoming and unaccommodating. Men can also experience psychological barriers that impact engagement and help-seeking. Men predominantly view general practice as a source of acute health care and do not appreciate the role of general practice in preventive health care and advice. Conclusion: This review has provided insight into the issues around the barriers to health care engagement, men's understanding of the role of general practice and their associated help-seeking. Seeking to further understand these issues could assist in the development of strategies to promote engagement of men with general practice health care. Impact: This review highlights research about men's engagement with general practice and the missed opportunities in receiving preventive health care and education. Enhancing men's engagement with general practice has the potential to reduce the impact of their health on quality of life and improve health outcomes.

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