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Protocol for a cluster randomized control trial of the impact of the Breaking the Man Code workshops on adolescent boys’ intentions to seek help

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-01, 00:00 authored by K King, M Schlichthorst, P Chondros, S Rice, A Clark, Long Le, Cathy Mihalopoulos, J Pirkis
Males in Australia and many other countries account for three-quarters of all deaths by suicide. School-based programs to support young men’s wellbeing have become increasingly common in recent years and show much promise to tackle the issue of male suicide by fostering protective factors and mitigating harmful factors. However, only a few of these programs have been evaluated. This trial seeks to address the lack of knowledge about the potential for school-based gender-transformative programs to have a positive impact on boys. Breaking the Man Code workshops, delivered by Tomorrow Man in Australia, challenge and transform harmful masculinities with young men with a view to ultimately reducing their suicide risk. The trial aims to examine whether adolescent boys who participate in the Breaking the Man Code workshop demonstrate an increase in their likelihood of seeking help for personal or emotional problems compared to boys waiting to take part in the workshop.

A stratified cluster randomized controlled superiority trial with two parallel groups will be conducted. Schools will be randomly allocated 1:1, stratified by location of the schools (rural or urban), state (Victoria, NSW, or WA), and mode of workshop delivery (face-to-face or online), to the intervention group and waitlist control group.

The Breaking the Man Code workshops show great promise as a school-based prevention intervention. The trial will fill a gap in knowledge that is critically needed to inform future interventions with boys and men. Some methodological challenges have been identified related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, such as delays in ethics approvals and the need for Tomorrow Man to introduce an online delivery option for the workshop. The trial protocol has been designed to mitigate these challenges. The findings from the trial will be used to improve the workshops and will assist others who are designing and implementing suicide prevention interventions for boys and men.

Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12620001134910). Registered on 30 October 2020






Article number



1 - 13




London, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal