Social isolation and loneliness are now widely accepted as risk factors for depression and anxiety. Conversely, social connectedness and good interpersonal relationships are considered protective factors that have a positive impact on mental (and general) health and well-being.
There is a growing body of research in this area that indicates men aged 30 to 65 (men in their middle years) experience more loneliness and have smaller social networks than women in the same age bracket.
beyondblue commissioned this research project to:
- highlight social connectedness as a protective factor for mental health and wellbeing
- identify the barriers impacting on the social connectedness of men in their middle years
- identify the factors which would facilitate social connectedness of men in their middle years
- use the evidence from this research to inform future involvement in initiatives and strategies to help men in their middle years to connect socially
The project adopted a multi-stage, multi-method approach, consisting of: a review of existing literature and interviews with thought leaders and practitioners; qualitative discussion groups; a quantitative online survey with 4,100 men; online discussion boards; and ethnographic case studies.