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Dying to be Men: Psychosocial, Environmental, and Biobehavioral Directions in Promoting the Health of Men and Boys

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Masculinity has a powerful effect on the health of men and boys. Indeed, many of the behaviours they use to "be men" actually increase their risk of disease, injury, and death. In this book, Dr. Will Courtenay, an internationally recognized expert on men’s health, provides a foundation for understanding this troubling reality. With a comprehensive review of data and literature, he identifies specific gender differences in the health-related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours of men and boys and the health consequences of these differences. He then describes the powerful social, environmental, institutional, and cultural influences that encourage their unhealthy behaviours and constrain their adoption of healthier ones. In the book’s third section, he more closely examines the health needs of specific populations of men, such as ethnic-minority men, rural men, men in college, and men in prisons. Courtenay also provides four empirical studies conducted with multidisciplinary colleagues that examine the associations between masculinity and men and boys’ health beliefs and practices. Finally, he provides specific strategies and an evidence-based practice guideline for working with men in a variety of settings, as well as a look to the future of men’s health.

Medical professionals, social workers, public health professionals, school psychologists, college health professionals, mental health practitioners, academics, and researchers from a broad array of disciplines, and anyone interested in this topic will find it to be an extensively researched and accessible volume.


Part I: Why Men and Boys Get Sick and Die Young.

  • Key Determinants of the Health and Well-being of Men and Boys: An Overview.
  • Behavioural Factors Associated with Disease, Injury, and Death Among Men and Boys.

Part II: Why Men and Boys Do the Things that Make Them Sick and Kill Them.

  • Introduction: Who are the Men in "Men's Health"?
  • Engendering Health: The Social Construction of Gendered Health Beliefs and Behaviors.
  • Constructions of Masculinity and Their Influence on Men's Well-being: A Theory of Gender and Health.

Part III: Specific Populations.

  • Introduction: Ethnicity Matters.
  • Rural Men's Health: Situating Men's Risk in the Negation of Masculinity.
  • College Men's Health.
  • Preventive Health Strategies for Men in Prison.

Part IV: Emerging Research on Men, Masculinity, and Health.

  • Introduction: Youth Violence?
  • Let's Call it What It Is.
  • Gender and Ethnic Differences in Health Beliefs and Behaviours.
  • Masculinity and Gender Role Conflict: Influence on Men's Likelihood of Engaging in High-risk Behaviours. Measurement of Men's Help Seeking.
  • The Drive for Muscularity and Masculinity.

Part V: Reaching Men.

  • Introduction: Making Health Manly: Social Marketing and Men's Health.
  • Counseling Men about Their Health: An Evidence-based Practice Guideline.
  • Designing Effective Programs and Services for College Men: Applying the Six-point HEALTH Plan and Other Evidence-Based Strategies.

Part VI: Looking Forward.

  • Introduction: Teaming Up for the New Men's Health Movement.
  • A Global Perspective on the Field of Men's Health.

About the Author

Dr. Courtenay is a consultant, psychotherapist, distinguished author, researcher, speaker, and radio host. A leading expert on men's health, he has shaped and promoted that field, as well as new thinking about boyhood, fatherhood and masculinity.

Dying to be Men: Psychosocial, Environmental, and Biobehavioral Directions in Promoting the Health of Men and Boys

Author: Dr. Will Courtenay

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