29/11/2013 Political Science Psychology
DOI: 10.1080/2159676X.2013.831372 SemanticScholar ID: 154417865 MAG: 2115085428

‘It is fun, fitness and football really’: a process evaluation of a football-based health intervention for men

Publication Summary

Concerns about gender inequalities in longevity, particularly premature male mortality, have prompted a range of innovative approaches to health promotion work dating back to the 1980s. In developing such work, sport, and football in particular, has emerged as a gendered cultural field that has utility for engaging men in community health initiatives. Evaluations of such work have shown that health initiatives using football settings, football interventions or even club branding can have positive impact on various health measures in the short and longer term. However, little work to date has looked at the underlying mechanisms that generate success in such projects. This paper presents secondary analysis of data collected during the evaluation of the Premier League Health (PLH) programme specifically focusing on these underlying mechanisms and how/where gender (masculinities) appears in these processes. We draw on interview data with 16 staff who had been involved in the delivery of the PLH initiative and 58 men who took part. Thematic analysis highlighted two overarching (and underpinning) themes: ‘Trust’, what processes it was key to and how it was developed and sustained; and ‘Change’, including what it was facilitated by and what impact it had. The paper adds to our understanding of how active listening, flexibility and sustained engagement are key to community-based sports projects’ success. Furthermore, it demonstrates how the physicality and sociability of involvement, rather than any direct focus on ‘health’, are important in acting as a springboard for facilitating reflection and aiding lifestyle changes for men.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Andy Daly-Smith

Dr. Andy Daly-Smith

University of Bradford - Reader

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