What men need for healthy relationships: The Alberta Men’s Survey

Part of building a healthy neighbourhood is ensuring the people who live there have healthy relationships, free of domestic violence.

In order to better understand how to prevent violence in the home, researchers at the Faculty of Social Work collaborated with 19 organizations including lead partners, the Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary, the City of Edmonton, Men’s Action Network Calgary and Men Edmonton to develop The Alberta Men’s Survey: A Conversation with Men about Well-Being and Healthy Relationships. 

The survey asked men what they need to have both personal well-being and healthy, non-violent relationships.

More than 2,200 men from across Alberta, ranging in age, income, ethnicity and location took the survey, answering 23 questions that were developed with the input of more than 50 men and 10 women from diverse cultural, age and socio-economic backgrounds..

Participants were asked about their wellbeing and relationships, what helps them feel good about themselves and what makes them angry, frustrated or upset. The survey also asked the men about their families, partners, spouses and dating relationships.

“We want to know more about the types of people and services that can support men, so that we can strengthen our communities, work together and provide these supports,” says Liza Lorenzetti, assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Work, who co-led the research with her colleague, Professor Dave Este. “We also want to understand the unique needs, perspectives, and strengths of men from diverse backgrounds so that supports and services can be inclusive of all men.”

The researchers have identified five key recommendations aimed at helping men feel good about themselves, have happy and healthy relationships and prevent domestic violence:

  1. Broaden the scope of services for men, with a focus on creative outreach and education, and the delivery of supports through community-based, peer-based and informal organizations and networks.
  2. Support families, individuals, community leaders and faith leaders to build their capacities as role models, peer supporters and mentors.
  3. Identify a strategy (policies and practices) to address social and economic inequality, including various forms of discrimination.
  4. Address and prevent trauma through mental health supports for men, and primary prevention strategies focused on improving access to services, decreasing child maltreatment and shifting rigid gender norms.
  5. Support and fund community-based and culturally/locally appropriate collaborations that reach-out to men within their existing social environments.