602 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2015.602ecancer 9
Engaging in nature-based activities is recognised as providing the basis for easily accessible, cost- effective interventions which can have other important physical and psychological health outcomes. The aim of the reported feasibility study was to explore the acceptability and potential psychological benefits of a simple ecotherapy-based intervention for individuals affected by cancer. A total of seven women from an existing breast cancer support group agreed to take part in the study by cultivating and customising a garden bowl for three months, maintaining a diary, and participating in a focus group at the end of the project. The analysis of the focus group data revealed four main themes that suggested that the women found engaging with the intervention to be therapeutic on a number of different levels: reflecting their cancer journey, a source of positivity, making meaning through memories, and a sense of control provided by engagement with the intervention. Engagement with the diary-writing element of the intervention, however, was not as widely endorsed by the group, as participants were even reluctant to make use of an online forum to share experiences of engaging with the intervention. Overall, the study suggests that the flexibility of level of engagement with an intervention is an important factor in developing acceptable interventions, and that the value of targeted recruitment to improve engagement with novel interventions is paramount.
Keywords: coping, ecotherapy, intervention, distraction, nature, breast cancer
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