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Men's health and wellbeing: Experience of older men in New Zealand

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Sunday, 31 December 2017
Academic background
Health Sciences, Sciences
Host campus
On-campus or via distance?
Professor David Baxter, Dr Cath Smith


Objective of the research

This PhD programme will investigate a cohort of older men (>45 years) in the Otago and Southland regions, focusing on their expectations and experiences of health and wellbeing, and levels of social engagement.

Background / review of the literature

Many of the health disparities between men and women seen in other developed countries are replicated in New Zealand. Cardiovascular disease, various forms of cancers, suicide, and injuries are either specific to, or more prevalent in men; most importantly, life expectancies for men in New Zealand are approximately 4 years less than for women. Such disparities vary across rural and urban communities, and across ethnic sub-groups. In particular Māori men live some 7 years less than other New Zealand men: life expectancy at birth is 73.0 years for Māori males, compared with 80.3 years for non-Māori males (Statistics New Zealand).

However, men's health and wellbeing is not currently recognised as a priority for healthcare providers, for government ministries and agencies, for health research funders, nor at the wider societal level. In contrast to countries like Australia, where federal and state governments have recognised the importance of men’s health and are taking steps to address health disparities, in New Zealand, there is limited engagement on this issue.

Research methods

This mixed methods programme will seek to establish and survey a cohort of older men in the Otago and Southland regions, based upon the methodology and instruments used in similar international studies (e.g. the European Male Ageing Study). Dependent upon survey findings, more in depth qualitative investigation is planned, including focus groups and interviews.

Significance and conclusion

The proposed research will contribute to our understanding of the experiences of older men, to the further development of men's health research in New Zealand, and aligns closely to the mission and anticipated impacts of the Ageing Well National Science Challenge.

Criteria for further consideration

Your GPA should be in the range of the equivalent of a NZ strong A / A-.

A strong research background is required.

Further information about applying for PhD study at the School of Physiotherapy


Professor David Baxter
Tel   64 3 479 7411