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The perceived influence of an exercise class intervention on the process and outcomes of post-traumatic growth

Hefferon, K. and Grealy, M.A. and Mutrie, N. (2008) The perceived influence of an exercise class intervention on the process and outcomes of post-traumatic growth. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 1 (1). pp. 32-39. ISSN 1755-2966

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Abstract

Post-traumatic growth (PTG) is the phenomenon of positive change through the experience of trauma and has been linked recently to the participation in group based therapies. The aim of this study was the explorative documentation of the experience of PTG among breast cancer patients and the role, if any, that a group based physical activity intervention had in the attainment of growth. Ten female breast cancer survivors, from an already existing study, participated in an individual, open-ended interview. Employing interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA), interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed for themes that reflected the women's experience of growing from adversity. The women attributed much of their process and outcomes of PTG to the experience of participating in an exercise intervention programme during rehabilitation. The programme's success in facilitating PTG could be viewed as superior in some ways to other group based therapies in offering the women a safe environment, positive support system, opportunity to transfer new skills and heightened health awareness/behaviours. Future research should acknowledge and conduct further investigations into the role of physical activity interventions as facilitators of the PTG process.