12 November 2014
USC researchers are taking a close look at how getting men together socially to work on a variety of projects is paying handsome dividends for their health.
Head of USC’s School of Health and Sports Sciences Professor John Lowe is leading a research team that is assessing the physical, mental and sociological benefits enjoyed by members of the Buderim Men’s Shed.
This facility on Mill Road, Buderim, is part of a national community-based, non-profit and non-commercial organisation that comprises more than 1,100 individual groups.
It provides a forum for men of all ages to meet and helps improve the health, wellbeing and social inclusion of members through collaboration on projects such as woodwork, mechanics, gardening, art, computing, sport, metalwork and music.
Professor Lowe is working with USC academics Dr Jane Taylor, Dr Mary Kynn and Dr Rachel Cole on the research, which aims to put men’s health in the spotlight.
“Men’s health doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should by mainstream society and this research aims to uncover the impact this group has over the short and longer term for members,” Professor Lowe said.
“While this initial study is looking at a local organisation, our goal is to expand this to include a national perspective.
“Men’s Sheds were inherently unique to Australia. Their success in encouraging men who may feel isolated and alone has led to the establishment of similar groups in other countries.”
Buderim Men’s Shed Vice-President Barry Cheales said the group was thrilled to be working with USC and was looking forward to seeing the results from the study.
“Men’s Sheds do more than work on collaborative projects,” he said. “They help fix men and build communities.
“We have more than 270 members and, since we first started in 2011, we have had many members experience greater health and happiness.
“We hope awareness around the importance of men’s health and specifically how Men’s Sheds can help will increase throughout the region.”
— Jessica Halls