Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Identifying behavioural barriers and facilitators to engaging men in a community-based lifestyle intervention to improve physical and mental health and well-being

Lookup NU author(s): Oliver Bell, Dr Darren Flynn, Tom Clifford, Dr Daniel WestORCiD, Professor Emma Stevenson, Dr Leah Avery



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023, The Author(s).Background: There are few community-based lifestyle interventions designed to target physical and mental health of men. We conducted a qualitative focus group study with men to explore their perceived barriers and facilitators to uptake and engagement with interventions designed to improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Methods: A volunteer sampling approach (advertisements posted on a premier league football club’s social media) was used to recruit men aged 28 to 65 years who were interested in improving their physical and/or mental health and wellbeing. Focus group discussions were conducted at a local premier league football club to 1) explore men’s perceived barriers and facilitators to uptake of community-based interventions; 2) identify health issues considered important to address; 3) obtain participant views on how to best engage men in community-based interventions; and 4) use the findings to inform the development of a multibehavioural complex community-based intervention (called ‘The 12th Man’). Results: Six focus group discussions were conducted (duration 27 to 57 min) involving 25 participants (median age 41 years, IQR = 21 years). Thematic analyses generated seven themes: ‘Lifestyle behaviours for both mental health and physical health’; ‘work pressures are barriers to engaging with lifestyle behaviour change’; previous injuries are barriers to engagement in physical activity and exercise’; personal and peer group relationships impact on lifestyle behaviour change’; relationships between body image and self-confidence on mastery of skills for physical activity and exercise’; building motivation and personalised goal setting’; and ‘credible individuals increase uptake and continued engagement with lifestyle behaviour change’. Conclusions: Findings suggest that a multibehavioural community-based lifestyle intervention designed for men should promote parity of esteem between physical and mental health. It should also acknowledge individual needs and preferences, emotions in the context of goal setting and planning, and be delivered by a knowledgeable and credible professional. The findings will inform the development of a multibehavioural complex community-based intervention (‘The 12th Man’).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bell OJ, Flynn D, Clifford T, West D, Stevenson E, Avery L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

Year: 2023

Volume: 20

Issue: 1

Print publication date: 01/12/2023

Online publication date: 06/03/2023

Acceptance date: 14/02/2023

Date deposited: 29/03/2023

ISSN (electronic): 1479-5868

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/s12966-023-01425-1

PubMed id: 36879249


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Newcastle United Foundation
Newcastle University