A systematic review of the factors associated with delays in medical and psychological help-seeking among men

Omar Yousaf, Beth Grunfeld, Myra S Hunter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    270 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite a growing literature on the factors associated with men's low rates of medical and psychological help-seeking, a systematic review of these is missing. Such an overview can help to inform health psychologists of the barriers to the performance of adaptive health behaviours, such as prompt help-seeking, and could inform theoretical advancements and the development of targeted interventions to facilitate prompt help-seeking among men. We systematically reviewed quantitative and qualitative empirical papers on factors associated with delays in men's medical and psychological help-seeking. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed, and we used the databases PsycINFO, Medline, Embase and PsycARTICLES (with keywords: men/male*/gender*, help*/seek* and health*/service*/utili*[sation]) for papers in English. 41 citations (amounting to 21,787 participants aged 15-80 + ) met the inclusion criteria. Approximately half of these used qualitative methodologies (i.e., semi-structured interviews and focus groups), while half used quantitative methodologies (i.e., questionnaires). We identify a number of recurring cognitive, emotional, health-service related and socio-demographic help-seeking factors/predictors from the 41 papers. Of these, the most prominent barriers to help-seeking were disinclination to express emotions/concerns about health, embarrassment, anxiety and fear, and poor communication with health-care professionals.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)264-276
    Number of pages13
    JournalHealth Psychology Review
    Issue number2
    Early online date16 Oct 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Attitude to Health
    • Communication
    • Emotions
    • Help-Seeking Behavior
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
    • Physician-Patient Relations
    • Psychotherapy
    • Sex Factors
    • Time Factors
    • Journal Article
    • Review


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