'Time to find a new freedom': TOMNET and Men’s Sheds - meeting older men’s contributive needs in regions within South East and South West Queensland, Australia?

PhD Thesis


Mulligan, Deborah L.. 2018. 'Time to find a new freedom': TOMNET and Men’s Sheds - meeting older men’s contributive needs in regions within South East and South West Queensland, Australia? PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/5f69803cdccda
Title

'Time to find a new freedom': TOMNET and Men’s Sheds - meeting older men’s contributive needs in regions within South East and South West Queensland, Australia?

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorMulligan, Deborah L.
SupervisorDanaher, Patrick
Postle, Glen
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages327
Year2018
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/5f69803cdccda
Abstract

'Time to find a new freedom' refers to one older man’s philosophy on retirement. This thesis examined the effectiveness of two male-only organisations in South-East and South-West Queensland, Australia – TOMNET and Men’s Sheds – in fulfilling older men’s (aged 50 years and over) contributive needs in retirement. An examination of the degree to which these two organisations provided a framework for realising positive solutions to the issues surrounding the marginalisation of older men in the community was conducted. The three research questions focused on the implementation of programs and philosophies by the organisational leadership, the engagement of the membership in these programs and the future sustainability of each group.

Contemporary ageing studies have focused predominantly on the needs of women and younger and middle-aged men. Scant research has been conducted into ageing and the specific needs of older men as they engage with retirement. Building on the scholarship of Maslow (1943, 1962, 1970, 1971), McClusky (1974, 1976) and other noted sociologists, I developed the Older Men’s Contributive Needs and Identity Framework as the study’s conceptual framework. This qualitative, interpretive, multi-site case study research presented an analysis of the lived experiences and multiple truths of older men’s ageing experiences. The research was conducted in three phases: 1) a Likert scale survey that elicited 268 respondents; 2) 29 semi-structured interviews; and 3) six focus groups with a total of 48 participants. The accompanying data analysis identified categories of responses and resultant themes clustered around the three research questions.

My contribution to theoretical knowledge can be found in the investigation of multiple data sources that led to the creation of the Older Men’s Contributive Needs and Identity Framework. This framework enhances contemporary understandings of ageing, acknowledges the importance of contributive needs and can be applied to both genders. My contribution to methodological knowledge was demonstrated in the design and implementation of an ethical, respectful and reciprocal research process applicable to older men. This study’s contribution to policy knowledge included the awareness raised by considering older men, ageing and suicide as a wicked problem. The study’s contribution to practice knowledge targeted three tiers. At the macro level, this thesis added new knowledge to this understudied age and gender group despite this group’s ongoing overrepresentation in suicide statistics. At the meso level, this thesis generated new understandings around the issues surrounding ageing and older men. At the micro level, knowledge about TOMNET and Men’s Sheds provided insights into the social understandings of not only this demographic but also other marginalised cohorts within the community.

Keywordsageing, contributive needs, gerontology, lifelong learning, masculinity, Men’s Sheds, older men, purposeful living, salutogenics, suicide, TOMNET
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390301. Continuing and community education
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
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