"It's a Male Thing:" A Phenomenological Study of Men's Positive Reactions to Cancer Diagnosis Through Participation in the ‘Trans-Alpine Scooter Safari' in Christchurch, New Zealand

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Jeffery D. Gage, PhD, RN, MPH
Canterbury University Health Sciences Centre, Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to readily identify and articulate the purpose, method and results of the research from the visual presentation of data.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe the theoretical implications for nursing practice to promote and support menís health in community settings.


To describe and interpret expressions of masculinity associated with participation in the Trans-Alpine Scooter Safari in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Scooter Safari is a fundraising event for the benefit of the New Zealand Cancer Society whereby participants ride 50cc scooters coast to coast during winter over mountainous terrain. The intention is to make this ride the coldest, hardest and most grueling test of endurance to symbolize difficulties faced by cancer sufferers. This event attracts 250 riders, raising $125,000 in 2010. Although the event is open to everyone, eighty percent of riders are men; most have been personally affected by cancer.


Male participants were purposively sampled and individually interviewed. These data were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Textual analysis was guided by a systematic process of coding. Codes were constantly compared across and between data to illuminate themes, evidenced by participant narratives.


Participants’ meanings associated with ‘traditional’ masculine expressions are identified in central themes including: ‘a good cause’ (fundraising and giving back to the community); ‘adventure’ (action, challenge, competition and risk); ‘fun’ (personal expression and achievement) and ‘being there’ (a tangible measure of support for friends and family members).


The Trans-Alpine Scooter Safari is one example of an innovative community initiated fundraising event that successfully attracts men to participate in the promotion of their own health and the wellbeing of friends and family members with cancer. Future nursing research could explore additional health contexts in which expressions of multiple masculinities may be central to the efficacy of gender specific partnership models to promote the health of men, their friends and families.