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July 2009 Issue
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Rural networks have impact on men: researcher

A new study at the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology is investigating how important social support and community networks are for the happiness of rural men.

Honours student Stephanie Kutek is conducting research on the subjective well-being of rural men in South Australia.

She is examining the influences of social support and sense of community on the levels of satisfaction with life that rural men experience.
"Rural men often have poorer health outcomes than both urban men and rural women. The rates of suicide among rural men are of particular concern as these have been steadily increasing over the past 20 years," said Ms Kutek.

"Social support and sense of community have been found to be protective of mental health in rural communities.

"However, with the current challenges facing rural towns, including decreasing populations and economic difficulties, many local services and amenities in rural Australia are being disbanded in areas where local community organisations and sporting groups are already struggling to keep going.

"These changes have the potential to impact the health and well-being of rural residents."

Ms Kutek's study is looking at men over the age of 18 and currently living in a rural area.

"I hope that this study will provide further evidence showing that greater levels of social support and sense of community boost levels of well-being.

"Hopefully, this will have an impact on the services available to rural men and, in turn, help rural men find more satisfaction with their lives," Ms Kutek said.

For more information about research in the School of Psychology, visit:

Story by Robyn Mills and Sandhya Rughoo

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Stephanie Kutek

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