Healing properties: connection to land and cancer survivorship

PhD Thesis


Pearce, Susanne. 2010. Healing properties: connection to land and cancer survivorship. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

Healing properties: connection to land and cancer survivorship

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorPearce, Susanne
SupervisorRogers-Clark, Cath
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages268
Year2010
Abstract

[Abstract]:
This doctoral research explored how 17 cancer survivors from rural Queensland describe their sense of connection to the land and how they report their survivorship journey in the context of their sense of connection to the land. The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of this connection, as well as how it influenced their survivorship journey through and beyond cancer. The concept of being 'connected to the land' is largely undefined within the literature, but implies a deep sense of belonging, beyond physical location and economical investment. Indigenous peoples around the world have long expressed a deep sense of interconnectedness between their connection to land and their health and well-being, but this relationship is to a lesser extent explored as a possible factor influencing the health and well-being of non-Indigenous peoples. Expanding existing knowledge on how rural men and women perceive their connection to the land, particularly in relation to health adversity, has the potential to assist health professionals working with rural patients to better understand and address their needs.

In this qualitative study, nine men and eight women with a farming background from rural Queensland took part in in-depth interviews. All participants had been diagnosed with some form of cancer and were at least 12 months post their acute treatment phase, with a number of participants living beyond their cancer diagnosis for many years. A key aspect of their self-selection was that they all reported a strong sense of connection to the land. For this doctoral work, constructivism was chosen as the methodological framework, as it provided a platform to fully engage with the participants as partners in the research. Interview data were recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically.

The findings of this study revealed that participants clearly demonstrated a deep bond with the land that manifested itself physically, emotionally and spiritually. This sense of connection created some challenges as well as many positive outcomes. The land not only provided an income, but was a source of strength and healing during
times of adversity, particularly on their journey of recovery from cancer. My thesis is that farming men and women of rural Queensland who feel a deep connection to the land report that this connection influences their health and well-being. A deep connection to the land provides solace and strength during times of health adversity and should be considered, and facilitated where relevant and possible, as an important aspect in the recovery journey for cancer survivors.

Keywordscancer; survivorship; land; rural; connection; rural patients; Queensland
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020321104. Cancer therapy (excl. chemotherapy and radiation therapy)
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Nursing and Midwifery
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