A psychological structure pertaining to the meaning of recreational programmes in the natural environment for those living with and beyond cancer

  • Oliver James Thurlow

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    In this study, a descriptive phenomenological approach was applied to discern the
    meaning of recreational programmes in the natural environment for those living with
    and beyond cancer. Over the past twenty years, significant healthcare strategies
    have been developed and commissioned to support the increasing numbers of
    those living with and beyond cancer. At present, there has been an increased effort
    to assist those living with and beyond cancer during the rehabilitation and
    survivorship phase of the cancer trajectory, with emphasis being placed on the
    recently established ‘recovery package’. Whilst acknowledging the position that
    structured physical activity interventions and follow-up questionnaires now assume
    in this strategic development, this study followed recommendations to explore the
    contrary for the sake of increasing awareness of meaningful, alternative options.
    This involved undertaking a descriptive phenomenological study of unstructured
    recreational programmes in the natural environment facilitated by a civil society
    organisation (Burke et al., 2017).

    Twelve participants were recruited and interviewed to extrapolate an essential
    description and psychological structure of their experiences of the 4 Cancer Group’s
    recreational programmes. After analysing the data through a psychological
    perspective (Giorgi, 2009), six empirical constituents were identified as being
    essential for the participants’ experience. The constituents included awareness of
    the changes to one’s reality due to chronic illness, a sense of openness to want to
    experience other opportunities, movements towards experiencing the present
    moment, renewed insight into one’s physical potential, a willingness to engage with
    and listen to others living with and beyond cancer, and anticipation of the presence
    of the future, all of which had experiential networks within. Firstly, the findings were
    critically examined in a manner that elaborated on the interplay of psychological
    rigidity and openness. The findings were then reflectively analysed through a
    phenomenological commentary and discussion of the scholarly literature to draw out
    a greater conversation of the philosophical and academic position of the study. The
    study concludes by presenting the originality of the findings, emphasising how a
    descriptive analysis has presented a psychological structure of meaning through the
    experiential givenness of recreational programmes for those living with and beyond
    Date of AwardOct 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SupervisorKathleen Galvin (Supervisor) & Kitty Suddick (Supervisor)

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