Male GPs' views on men seeking medical help: A qualitative study

S Hale, S Grogan, Sara Willott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Analysis of health service statistics reveals that men tend to under-use primary health care services. Previous research has suggested that men view illness as a form of weakness and have negative views about men who seek medical help. It has also indicated that some men believe that male General Practitioner (GP)s hold similar views, a factor which may influence their own tendency to self-refer. This study aims to explore male GPs' experiences of their male patients' patterns of self-referral and to identify factors that may negatively influence doctor-patient relationships. Method. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 10 male GPs (ages 35-53). These were audiotaped and subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis to identify relevant themes. Results. For all participants, managing service demands were seen as a major challenge. Analysis of these GP's accounts suggested that they see men's self-referral as being primarily influenced by the need to conform to masculine gender roles and a number of ways that men accessed services in a way congruent with this were identified. This study also explored how participants' own adherence to gender roles may itself influence the doctor-patient relationship. Conclusion. This study suggests that, like other men, male GPs may have ambivalent attitudes towards male self-referral and that this may influence their interactions with male patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-713
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


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