Talking man to man

Ben Walters

They say women are great at sharing their problems and talking with each other, but what about the men?

Getting to the heart of how men really communicate with each other is the focus of new research at Griffith University.

Conducted by Psychology PhD candidate Ben Walters from Griffith Health Institute’s Behaviourial Basis of Health program, the online study is surveying men aged between 20 and 60 with questionnaires. The survey asks questions regarding scenarios that men may commonly find themselves in.

“Much disagreement exists in the current scientific literature regarding the different ways that people communicate and, more specifically, the ways that men communicate with each other,” says Mr Walters. “There are theories of mateship and strong bonds between men, but other stereotypes allude to men generally not having any close friendships, so this area is poorly understood by researchers.

“The aim of this research is to investigate these issues further and bring the literature on this area up to date. We’re aiming to discover what kinds of communication methods men use with each other as society changes and as the interest in mens’ health is brought more into focus.

“It is believed that men often under-utilise available healthcare services. Therefore it is hoped that by furthering understanding of mens’communication styles, the knowledge gained can inform mens’ health marketing and advertising campaigns to increase uptake of healthcare services.”

Additionally, Mr Walters says that the research may also be able to inform ways of making therapy and counselling services more congruent with men’s natural communication styles.

“If we can develop a better understanding about the ways that men communicate naturally with one another, we can apply that to professional health settings to assist men in being more
comfortable in this domain.”

‘The Man Talk – Attitudes about Friendship and Interpersonal Communication’ study is currently mid way through and still actively recruiting participants for its online survey.

Interested people are invited to contact Mr Walters at Griffith’s School of Psychology on 07 3735 3383 or email mantalk@griffith.edu.au. Alternatively they can visit  http://prodsurvey.rcs.griffith.edu.au/mantalk

Researchers are offering men who complete the survey the chance to win one of two $150 gift cards to a store of their choice.