Men behaving well? Journeys towards constructive engagement with well-being through meditation

Lomas, T., Cartwright, T., Edginton, T.L. and Ridge, Damien T. 2011. Men behaving well? Journeys towards constructive engagement with well-being through meditation. BSA Medical Sociology Group 43rd Annual Conference 2011. University of Chester 14 - 16 Sep 2011

TitleMen behaving well? Journeys towards constructive engagement with well-being through meditation
AuthorsLomas, T., Cartwright, T., Edginton, T.L. and Ridge, Damien T.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Research suggests that men may experience distress in ways that go undetected. Many commentators argue that hegemonic forms of masculinity can render men unable or unwilling to deal constructively with distress, leading to maladaptive responses including avoidant behaviour and emotional numbing. However, there are indications in the research that men are also able to constructively engage with their well-being, although little research exists exploring how they do so. The present study sought to find men who currently appear to self-manage their well-being in order to examine issues around how men adopt a constructive approach. In-depth narrative interviews were conducted with 30 male meditators in the UK, selected using principles of maximum variation sampling. Using a modified grounded theory approach, the analysis suggests that while these men took up meditation for varying reasons, they have discovered strategies to better manage their wellbeing. However, the journey towards meditation was fraught with difficulties. Men described crossing a threshold from boyhood into ‘manhood’, and most had tried in the past to be emotionally tough and/or disconnect from difficult emotions. Many had experienced internal conflict, and sought relief in a variety of ineffectual coping responses. Exploring varying pathways toward meditation, this study sheds light on the ways men deal with distress and find constructive ways of coping. Here, resisting dominant norms of masculinity is a difficult struggle for men. Moving away from the ‘masculinity as deficit’ model, we discuss implications for helping men to better understand, engage with, and manage their feelings of distress.

Year2011
ConferenceBSA Medical Sociology Group 43rd Annual Conference 2011
Publication dates
Completed2011

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Ridge, Damien T. 2003. "Most useful": a rapid qualitative approach to mapping young peoples issues and programs in Vietnam. Development Bulletin. 62, pp. 70-74.

Being there: how teachers of students facing adversity promote positive relationships
Ridge, Damien T., Sheehan, M., Marshall, B., Maher, S. and Carlisle, R. 2003. Being there: how teachers of students facing adversity promote positive relationships. Qualitative Research Journal. 3 (2), pp. 5-21.

The health of young gays and lesbians
Ridge, Damien T. 2003. The health of young gays and lesbians. in: Liamputtong, P. and Gardner, H. (ed.) Health, social change & communities Melbourne Oxford University Press.

The construction of the adolescent male body through sports
Ricciardelli, L.A., McCabe, M.P. and Ridge, Damien T. 2003. The construction of the adolescent male body through sports. in: Australian Journal of Psychology. Combined abstracts of 2003 Australian Psychological Conferences Australia Australian Psychological Society Ltd.. pp. 207

Finding a place for health in the schooling process: a challenge for education
Ridge, Damien T., Northfield, J., St Leger, L., Marshall, B., Sheehan, M. and Maher, S. 2002. Finding a place for health in the schooling process: a challenge for education. Australian Journal of Education. 46 (1), pp. 19-33.

School health polices and practices in Victoria – a comparison involving socio-economic status and school geographical location
St Leger, L., Maher, S., Ridge, Damien T., Marshall, B., Sheehan, M. and Gibbons, C. 2002. School health polices and practices in Victoria – a comparison involving socio-economic status and school geographical location. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 13 (3), pp. 201-204.

'This was a great project!': Reflections on a mental health promotion project in a remote indigenous school
Sheehan, M., Ridge, Damien T. and Marshall, B. 2002. 'This was a great project!': Reflections on a mental health promotion project in a remote indigenous school. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 13 (3), pp. 201-204.

Efficient remembering: nicotine improves suppression of irrelevancies
Edginton, T.L. and Rusted, J.M. 2002. Efficient remembering: nicotine improves suppression of irrelevancies. Neurobiology of Aging. 23 (Supplement 1), p. S123.

The value of asthma camps for young people in Victoria, Australia
Lord, A., St Leger, L., Ridge, Damien T. and Elisha, D. 2001. The value of asthma camps for young people in Victoria, Australia. Contemporary Nurse. 11 (2-3), pp. 133-141.

"I will start treatment when I think the time is right": HIV-positive gay men talk about their decision not to access antiretroviral therapy
Gold, R.S. and Ridge, Damien T. 2001. "I will start treatment when I think the time is right": HIV-positive gay men talk about their decision not to access antiretroviral therapy. AIDS Care. 13 (6), pp. 693-708.

"You become really close... you talk about the silly things you did, and we laugh": the role of binge drinking in female secondary students' lives
Sheehan, M. and Ridge, Damien T. 2001. "You become really close... you talk about the silly things you did, and we laugh": the role of binge drinking in female secondary students' lives. Substance Use & Misuse. 36 (3), pp. 347-372.

Erasing the margins: youth marginalisation round table (YMaRT), building relationships and youth directed initiatives: a report from the round table
Ridge, Damien T. 2001. Erasing the margins: youth marginalisation round table (YMaRT), building relationships and youth directed initiatives: a report from the round table. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 12 (3), pp. 196-198.

Building relations and youth directed initiatives in research and services
Ridge, Damien T. 2001. Building relations and youth directed initiatives in research and services. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 12 (3), pp. 6-8.

Effects of nicotine on inhibitory processes in human memory
Edginton, T.L. 2001. Effects of nicotine on inhibitory processes in human memory. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 15 (Supplement), p. A55.

Jump rope for heart: evaluating a cardiovascular health programme for primary school students
Thistlewaite, K., St Leger, L., Ridge, Damien T. and Maher, S. 2000. Jump rope for heart: evaluating a cardiovascular health programme for primary school students. ACHPER Austalia Healthy Lifestyles Journal. 47 (2), pp. 5-8.

"Asian" men on the scene: challenges to "gay communities"
Ridge, Damien T., Hee, A. and Minichiello, V. 1999. "Asian" men on the scene: challenges to "gay communities". Journal of Homosexuality. 36 (3/4), pp. 43-68.

Being 'real' in suicide prevention evaluation: the role of the ethnographer's emotions under traumatic conditions
Ridge, Damien T., Hee, A. and Aroni, R. 1999. Being 'real' in suicide prevention evaluation: the role of the ethnographer's emotions under traumatic conditions. Australian Journal of Primary Health. 5 (3), pp. 21-31.

Asian men on the scene: challenges to 'gay communities'
Ridge, Damien T., Hee, A. and Minichiello, V. 1998. Asian men on the scene: challenges to 'gay communities'. in: Jackson, P.A. and Sullivan, G. (ed.) Multicultural queer: Australian narratives New York Haworth Press.

From pharmaceuticals to alternative treatments for HIV/AIDS: what is the potential?
Ridge, Damien T. and Arachne, J. 1997. From pharmaceuticals to alternative treatments for HIV/AIDS: what is the potential? Health Care Analysis. 5 (4), pp. 275-282.

Queer connections: community, the scene and an epidemic
Ridge, Damien T., Minichiello, V. and Plummer, D. 1997. Queer connections: community, the scene and an epidemic. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 26 (23), pp. 146-181.

Religiosity, sexual behaviour and safe sex practices: further evidence
Minichiello, V., Paxton, S., Cowling, V., Cross, G., Savage, J. and Ridge, Damien T. 1996. Religiosity, sexual behaviour and safe sex practices: further evidence. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 20 (3), pp. 321-323.

Negotiated safety: not negotiable or safe?
Ridge, Damien T. 1996. Negotiated safety: not negotiable or safe? Venereology. 9 (2), pp. 98-100.

Knowledge and practice of sexual safety in Melbourne gay men in the nineties
Ridge, Damien T., Plummer, D. and Minichiello, V. 1994. Knowledge and practice of sexual safety in Melbourne gay men in the nineties. Australian Journal of Public Health. 18 (3), pp. 319-325.

Young gay men and HIV: running the risk?
Ridge, Damien T., Plummer, D. and Minichiello, V. 1994. Young gay men and HIV: running the risk? AIDS Care. 6 (4), pp. 371-378.

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