Krista FisherPhD Candidate, Orygen, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne
Keynote Presentation: Resisting, Reckoning and Responding: A World First Theory of Young Men’s Anxiety
Despite being the most prevalent mental health disorder experienced by young men, anxiety has been overlooked in mental health research for this group. If untreated, anxiety is predictive of later co-morbid mental health conditions, such as depression, and associated suicide risk. There is early evidence to suggest young men’s experiences and expressions of anxiety are influenced by dominant masculine norms (e.g., invulnerability, toughness, and self-reliance) which may deter young men from seeking help, instead opting for maladaptive coping strategies such as increased alcohol and drug use, social withdrawal, and risk-taking behaviour.
Krista Fisher will present the findings of her grounded theory study, aimed to develop the first theory of young men’s anxiety, with a focus on how young men experience anxiety, and the ways in which anxiety impacts their lives. Through a process of individual semi structured interviews with young Australian men (15-25 years), who had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or self-reported anxiety symptoms, a three-process grounded theory (Resisting-Reckoning-Responding; Triple R Anxiety Model) was developed, depicting the discrete and active processes through which young men experience anxiety, gilded, and guided by their masculine socialisation.
Krista will explore the Triple R Anxiety Model and how it informs our understanding of the experience of anxiety in young men. The study findings make an important contribution to the theoretical conceptualisation of men’s anxiety, and more specifically how anxiety presents and is expressed in young men. This will ultimately improve the identification of young men’s anxiety and support effective community and clinical responses to better support young men who may be struggling. These findings have critical implications in improving young men’s mental health outcomes across the lifespan.
Krista Fisher is a PhD candidate at Orygen and the University of Melbourne funded by the Men in Mind Scholarship through the global men’s health charity, Movember. Krista’s research is primarily focused on men’s anxiety, and its association with other deleterious mental health outcomes including depression, substance use and suicide. Krista’s PhD study The Men’s Anxiety Project, has developed the first theoretical model of men’s anxiety (Resisting, Reckoning, Responding) which improves the identification, assessment, and treatment of anxiety in men. Krista is also working with the National Addiction and Mental Health Surveillance Unit (NAMHSU) at Turning Point to translate these findings into an acute emergency setting. Using data obtained from the Victorian arm of the Australian National Ambulance Surveillance System (NASS), Krista is evaluating the clinical characteristics and contexts of young men’s anxiety-related ambulance attendances. Krista’s is passionate about improving men’s mental health outcomes across the lifespan and empowering men’s social networks who play a critical role in mental health recovery.