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Lessons From Breast Cancer Survivors: The Role of Recreation Therapy in Facilitating Spirituality and Well-Being

Diane Groff, Claudio Battaglini, Cari Sipe, Cathy O’Keefe, and Jeffery Peppercorn

Leisure/Loisir, 33(1), 341-365, 2009.

For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.

Abstract

Spirituality is not consistently integrated into health care even though it is thought to play a vital role in health and recovery from illness. Recreation therapy (RT) can capitalize on the free and expressive nature of leisure-based interventions to facilitate spiritual growth and help individuals enhance their overall well-being. This qualitative study explored the impact that an integrated RT and exercise program had on the spirituality of six women recovering from breast cancer. A content analysis of the RT documentation recorded during the six-month program was compared to five attributes commonly used to conceptualize the term spirituality: meaning, value, transcendence, connecting, and becoming (Martsolf & Mickley, 1998). The results provided preliminary evidence that the RT interventions provided during this breast cancer program were related to each of these five attributes of spirituality for the majority of participants. These findings along with implications for practitioners and future research are provided.