chapter  12
26 Pages

Counseling Men About Their Health: An Evidence- Based Practice Guideline

As I discussed in the preceding chapters, gender-based medicine and health care are receiving increasing attention among health professionals. In addition to having different reproductive health needs, women and men have different risks for specifi c diseases and disabilities. They also differ in their perceptions of health. Research consistently indicates, for example, that men are less likely than women to perceive themselves as being at risk for most health problems, even for problems that men are more likely than women to experience (see Chapter 1). Furthermore, as is evident from the preceding chapters, men’s gender-not simply male biological sex-mediates men’s health and preventive practices, and gender-specifi c interventions are often necessary to achieve positive clinical outcomes. For example, a substantial body of research has demonstrated that-based on their readiness to change health-related behaviors-women and men require different interventions, and that failure to tailor interventions to these specifi c needs signifi cantly reduces the chance of behavioral change (see Chapter 1). Other studies have found that using such approaches as future awareness and imagining

symptoms to modify risk behaviors is more effective with men than with women (DePalma, McCall, & English, 1996; Rothspan & Read, 1996). This research consistently shows that it is necessary for medical and mental health professionals to address the infl uences of men’s gender when working with men. This is particularly important when working with men who have traditional attitudes or beliefs about manhood and who-as I have demonstrated in the preceding chapters-are at greatest risk.