Level playing field: young males, masculinity and mental wellbeing through sport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In Australia, and throughout the world, it is evident that the mental health and wellbeing of young males aged 15-24, is not a priority. In Australia suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged 15–24 years and 75% are male [1]. It is clear young males as well as those who identify as indigenous or LGBTIQ are at risk groups with respect to self arm and suicide [2]. It is the transition period from adolescence to adulthood that is of particular concern. Often young males must pass through this phase of life with minimal guidance or direction and without a “safe space” where they can attain emotional support. Sport is a significant part of boys’ and young males' lives and offers that “safe space”. Sport can play a substantial role in protective mental health through socialization and engagement in a socially endorsed activity that seemingly has far more positive outcomes than negative ones. This research is underpinned by both quantitative and qualitative research with young males involved masculinised sporting clubs. Its aim is to provide insights into how we can create safe spaces for males and influence positive forms of masculinities that can enhance mental health promotion among young males. This mixed methods research explores issues around mental health in young males involved across two male dominated sporting codes in Australian (Australian football and cricket). Surveys and interviews with young males age 15-24 as well as parents, coaches and key stakeholders underpin this research. While the data is designed to assist in the development of educational resources for males to influence positive forms of masculinities that can enhance mental health promotion among young males involved in these sporting codes, this paper reports on the exploratory nature of the data and raises important issues emerging among young males with respect to mental health and the role of the sporting club.
Original languageEnglish
Article number756
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Young men
  • Sport
  • Mental Health
  • Masculinities

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