The transition from the labor market to retirement is a critical phase of life. Men, especially, are at risk of negative health effects such as loneliness, depression, loss of quality of life and meaning in life and a decline in self-rated health.
Several studies have found that Shared Reading may be a promising way to engage older men in health promotion interventions. However, only few studies have investigated the connection between literature and mental health and no previous studies have investigated its effects on newly retired men.
The project contributes to a growing focus on art and culture as health promotion. This field has been in rapid growth in the last decade, particularly in countries like USA, Australia and England, but it has yet to be established within a Danish research and practice context. With this project we wish to strengthen the basis for both research and practice within the field.
The project investigates how reading in groups can contribute to health promotion among newly retired men through the concept of Shared Reading. Using quantitative and ethnographic methods, we investigate social (loneliness, social connectedness), mental health (quality of life, life satisfaction, meaning in life) and literary effects of shared and close reading of literature may have on newly retire men. Further, we draw on literary theory in investigating mechanisms at play in collective engagement with literature as mental health promotion.
In the project, a concept for physical and online Shared Reading groups is developed, tested and evaluated using ethnographic and quantitative methods. During the project, 8 Shared Reading groups, each with up to 10 participants and a duration of 8 weeks will be carried out.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Collaboration and funding
The project is a part of Human Health, a research network across the Humanities, Health Sciences and Social Sciences at SDU, and is a research collaboration between the National Institute of Public Health, SDU, and the Department of the Study of Culture, SDU. Further, DaneAge (ÆldreSagen) and the Danish Reader Association (Læseforeningen) are partners in the project.
The PhD project Shared Reading in retirement - Innovative mental health promotion for newly retired men in online and offline contexts is a part of the Read, Man! Project.