BACKGROUND: Although prevalent in primary care settings, men's health issues are rarely discussed. Yet, primary care doctors (PCDs) are well positioned to offer health check-ups during consultations.
OBJECTIVES: This study aims to develop a substantive theory to explain the process of decision making by which PCDs engage men in discussing health check-ups.
METHODS: Grounded theory method was adopted. Data source was from 14 in-depth interviews and 8 focus group discussions conducted with a semi-structured guide. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim for analysis. Initial open coding captured the concepts of processes from the data, followed by selective and theoretical coding to saturate the core category. Constant comparative method was used throughout the process to allow emergence of the theory.
RESULTS: Fifty-two PCDs from private and public settings were interviewed. PCDs engaged male patients in health check-ups when they associated high medical importance with the relevant issues. The decision to engage men also depended on perceived chances of success in negotiations about health check-ups. A high chance of success, associated with minimal negotiation effort, is associated with men being most receptive to health check-ups. When doctors feel the importance of a particular health issue, they place less emphasis on their perceived men's receptivity to discuss that health issue in their intention to engage them in discussing it.
CONCLUSIONS: Engaging male patients in appropriate health check-up activities requires a series of actions and decisions by the PCDs. The decision to engage the patient depends on the perceived balance between the receptivity of male patients and the medical importance of the issues in mind.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.