“The Environment Was Like They Were in the Pub But With No Alcohol”: A Process Evaluation of Engagement and Sustainability in Men On The Move an Irish Community Based Physical Activity Intervention

Steve Robertson, Paula Carroll, Alexandra Donohoe, Noel Richardson, Aisling Keohane, Liam Kelly, Michael Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Men’s health and life expectancy, particularly for those men from lower socioeconomic groups, remains an issue of concern in Ireland. This concern is reflected in the recent National Men’s Health Action Plan where important priority has been placed on finding appropriate ways to garner sustained involvement in health promotion interventions for men. Physical activity (PA) has been shown to be a useful ‘hook’ to as-sist with such engagement. ‘Men on the Move’ (MOM) is a 12-week, community based, gender-sensitized, PA program established as a pragmatic controlled trial and aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of inactive men. The program was co-created with Local Sports Partnerships (LSP), delivered by experienced PA co-ordinators (PACs), and often supported by local community champions. This paper reports on the process evaluation of the MOM program using data collected from focus groups with the LSPs and those involved in delivering MOM from all 8 counties that took part. It aims to describe how MOM program activities were delivered, how closely it was implemented as planned, and how well it reached the target population. Findings highlight the importance of negotiated partnerships at and between national and local levels in terms of providing support, consistent guidance and appropriately branded materials to the LSPs. The underpinning inclusive ethos of MOM, embodied by the PACs, led to the creation of a fun, inclusive and comfortable atmosphere that helped sustain men’s involvement. This was aided by the use of male-familiar settings through which to deliver the program. While PA focused, findings here suggest a much wider impact on mental wellbeing and social connection and that this was achieved in a very cost-effective way. Impor-tantly, men’s health training (ENGAGE) was a key factor in program design and implementation assisting in building capacity among service providers to work with men. Joined up service provision and drawing on existing, trusted, local community networks were vital to recruiting men into the program. Finally, the potential for MOM to signpost and offer an aftercare plan to community support for the men beyond the 12-week program was noted as important particularly where there is increased need of these among more marginalized groups of men. This process evaluation provides a good example of how health promotion interventions need to recognize and exploit the fact that health and wellbeing are integrally linked to the communities where people live out and experience their daily lives. Ensuring that MOM was embedded within existing community struc-tures, and supported by community champions with the requisite skills and local knowledge, underpinned program success and sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1-e14
JournalInternational Journal of Men's Social and Community Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2018


  • Community
  • Engagement
  • Men’s health
  • Physical activity
  • Process evaluation


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