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Older men and social activity: a scoping review of Men's Sheds and other gendered interventions


Finding ways of improving the health and wellbeing of older men is an important challenge for public health. This review aimed to assess evidence for the effects of Men's Sheds and other gendered social activities on the health and wellbeing of older men, and to consider their effective components and theoretical frameworks. A scoping review using standardised search criteria and terms identified 31 relevant papers of sufficient quality for inclusion. Analysis was informed by guidance on interpretative and narrative synthesis and a quality assessment tool designed for reviewing disparate data from different disciplines and research paradigms applied. The review found some limited evidence that Men's Sheds and other gendered social activities may have impact on the mental health and wellbeing of older men, but little evidence of the impact on physical health. Qualitative data provided valuable insights into how and why complex psycho-social activities can affect participants, but there was a lack of longitudinal evidence drawing on validated health and wellbeing measures. Key components of successful interventions included accessibility, range of activities, local support and skilled co-ordination. A variety of theoretical frameworks were employed. As yet, there is no conclusive evidence that Men's Sheds and other gendered interventions confer health and wellbeing benefits on older men. Studies in this field to date are few and of variable quality. Larger and more robust mixed-methods studies, including randomised designs, are needed.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Christine Milligan, Centre for Ageing Research, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster, UK E-mail:
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