What boys need: a sense of “belonging”

William J Phillips
Med J Aust 2006; 185 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2006.tb00654.x
Published online: 16 October 2006

If we are to raise healthy boys, we may need to re-examine our values

Many of the studies looking at health in adolescent boys and girls suggest that the fostering of resilience, derived from a sense of “belonging”, is of prime importance.1 This is in accord with recent endocrinological findings which demonstrate that, being social mammals, humans have a genetically programmed need for “bonding” mediated by the hormone oxytocin, which is generated by touch and sex.2 Such bonding is not just to a sexual partner but involves a web of belonging that permeates multiple strata in the total community. The feeling of belonging results from many things, including connections with parents and families, and adult support for independence and competency. Reflecting on my personal experiences as a boy, then a man, teacher, husband, step-father, father, grandfather and general practitioner, I would like to give my opinion of what young men need to help them develop a feeling of belonging.

  • William J Phillips

  • Private Practice, Beerwah, QLD.


Competing interests:

None identified.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.