Creighton G*, MacMillan E*, Oliffe J, Saewyc E. (2015). Living for the moment: Men consider risk practices following the death of a friend.Sociology of Health and Illness. 37(3): 355-369.

The primary cause of death for men under the age of 30 is unintentional injury and, despite health-promotion efforts and programme interventions, male injury and death rates have not decreased in recent years. Drawing on 22 interviews from a study of men, risk and grief, we describe how a risk-related tragedy shaped the participants’ understandings of and practices of risk-taking. The findings indicate that most participants did not alter their perceptions and engagement in risky practices, which reflected their alignment to masculine ideals within specific communities of practice where risk-taking was normalised and valorised. Continued reliance on risky practices following the death of a friend was predominantly expressed as ‘living for the moment,’ where caution and safety were framed as conservative practices that undermined and diluted the robustness ideally embodied by this subgroup of young men. Two main themes: living life, accepting death and upping the ante illustrate how risk-taking can persist following a death. A smaller group of participants articulated a different viewpoint; reining in risk practices, to describe their risk management approaches after the death of a male friend. This novel study confirms the ongoing challenge of reducing men’s risk-taking practices, even after the death of a friend.

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