A RURAL-URBAN COMPARISON OF SELF-MANAGEMENT IN PEOPLE AFFECTED BY CANCER FOLLOWING TREATMENT: A MIXED METHODS STUDY

Nelson, David (2020) A RURAL-URBAN COMPARISON OF SELF-MANAGEMENT IN PEOPLE AFFECTED BY CANCER FOLLOWING TREATMENT: A MIXED METHODS STUDY. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

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A Rural-Urban Comparison of Self-Management in People Affected by Cancer Following Treatment: A Mixed Methods Study
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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
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Abstract

Background: People affected by cancer have to self-manage the consequences of cancer long after primary treatment has ended. In cancer survivorship, self-management has been defined as awareness and active participation by the individual in their recovery, recuperation and rehabilitation to minimise the consequences of treatment, and promote survival, health and wellbeing (DH, Macmillan Cancer Support and NHS Improvement, 2010).
Despite a significant drive towards promoting and supporting self-management with people affected by cancer there is a lack of research examining whether residence (rural-urban) has an influence on self-management following cancer treatment. The primary aim of this thesis was to investigate and compare self-management, in people affected by cancer following treatment from rural and urban areas.

Methods: The study utilised a cross-sectional mixed methods design that incorporated both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection.

Firstly, this involved a self-completion postal questionnaire (N=227) that collected quantitative data on demographics, rural-urban residence, health status, health-promoting behaviours, patient activation, cancer-related self-efficacy and qualitative free-text information on self- management behaviours. This was followed by a series of in-depth qualitative interviews (N=34) that aimed to identify, and compare the barriers and facilitators to self-management in people affected by cancer from rural and urban settings in the East Midlands of England. Both datasets were integrated to further explain the quantitative differences that were identified between rural and urban participants.

Results: Participants from rural areas reported higher scores across a range of quantitative variables, indicative of greater levels of engagement with health promoting behaviours and self-management compared to those from urban areas. Specifically, rural participants scored higher with regard to health responsibility (p<0.01; nutrition (p<0.001); spiritual growth (p<0.01); and interpersonal relationships (p<0.001). Rural respondents (63.31±13.66) had higher patient activation than those in urban areas (59.59±12.75) although this was not statistically significant at p<0.01. Those residing in rural areas (7.86±1.70) had significantly (p<0.01) greater cancer-related self-efficacy compared to those in urban areas (7.09±1.96). Rural respondents had significantly higher self-efficacy than urban respondents with regard to confidence to manage physical discomfort (p<0.01), emotional distress (p<0.001), and to contact their doctor about problems caused by cancer (p<0.01). The findings from the multivariate analysis highlighted that rural-urban residence was not a significant predictor of health-promoting behaviours, patient activation or cancer-related self-efficacy when adjusting for living arrangement, marital status, qualifications and self-reported health status. Self- reported health status proved to be a significant predictor on all three outcomes when controlling for confounders.

Three themes were identified in the qualitative data which related to barriers that prevented participants from engaging with self-management: (1) Location (2) Relationship Based and (3) Personal. In relation to facilitators that enhanced participants’ active participation in their recovery, three subthemes were identified: (1) Effective Communication and Information; (2) Informal and Peer Support and (3) Motivation. The barriers and facilitators that were identified were prevalent in both the rural and urban setting. However, some aspects belonging to these barriers and facilitators were more explicit in the rural or urban environment. For example, there was a lack of bespoke support in rural areas and participants acknowledged how traveling long distances to urban centres for support groups was problematic. Motivation to engage with self-management was not unique and both sets of participants were motivated by a desire to be healthy and take part in group activities and sports. Although rural participants did have easier access to greenspaces and community activities, which could enhance motivation further.

Conclusion: The quantitative findings highlighted that people in rural areas were more engaged with health-promoting behaviours and better at self-managing their health compared to those in urban areas. The majority of the barriers and facilitators that were identified were not necessarily unique to the urban or rural environment. Certainly, the qualitative data show that residency is not as unequivocal as the quantitative results would suggest. However, engagement with the local community was greater in rural areas which could account for the differences.

Whilst the active treatment phase can present considerable challenges for people affected by cancer in rural areas the findings suggest that the rural environment has the potential to increase engagement with self-management in the transition to survivorship.

Keywords:self-management, cancer survivorship, Oncology, Mixed Methods, patient activation, self-efficacy, Health behaviours, rural-urban, rural health
Subjects:A Medicine and Dentistry > A900 Others in Medicine and Dentistry
L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
L Social studies > L900 Others in Social studies
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B700 Nursing
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
ID Code:41505
Deposited On:24 Jul 2020 09:09

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