Information behaviour of Australian men experiencing stressful life events: the role of social networks and confidants
Introduction. This paper discusses the findings of a qualitative study into the information behaviour of a group of Australian men who had experienced a stressful life event. It examined sources of information and the gaps and barriers experienced in the information search. The information value of social networks and confidants was explored. Method. Sense-making interviews were conducted with fifteen men who had experienced a period of significant life stress. A self-report sheet was used to collect additional data from the help-seeking men. A semi-structured interview was held with six professionals who offer information and help to members of the community. Analysis. Interview transcripts were examined for themes within the help-seeking episode. A thematic analysis was also undertaken in the interviews with the professionals. Results. Results indicate the use of a variety of information behaviour strategies, including avoidance, during stressful life events. A key finding is the important role of women in assisting men's information behaviour both in terms of facilitating help-seeking, and assisting men to stay on task during help-seeking. Conclusions. These findings indicate the need for greater understanding of the information behaviour of men experiencing stressful life events. The findings have implications for health policy, particularly the development of support services for men.
Family and Household Studies