The Determinants of Health and Well-Being as Perceived by Senior Rural Women in Southwestern Saskatchewan
Stewart, Heather Cona
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The purpose of this study was to identify the determinants of health and well-being as perceived by rural senior women. These perceptions are of value to determine what sustains these women in a rural environment. The study area included three rural municipalities (RMs) within the Prairie Ecosystem Study (PECOS) project in southwestern Saskatchewan. A phenomenological qualitative study was implemented. Twenty-nine rural women between 55 and 75 years of age, the formative retirement years, were interviewed utilizing an interview guide. The Q.S.R. NUD*IST (© 1990) computer program was used to assist in the sorting and collating of the categories and themes emerging from the transcribed data. The data for analysis also included: (a) field notes collected over the course of the research process and (b) participant observation with personal reflections by the researcher. The conceptual framework for this study was the Mandala of Health-a Model of the Human Ecosystem developed by the Department of Public Health, City of Toronto. Three major categories of themes emerged from the data analysis: (1) the aging/maturation process, (2) the community (social) support systems, and (3) the family support system. It is suggested that these thematic categories are of importance for the self-perceived health and well-being of the women in this study and for their sustainability in a rural environment. At the conclusion of the thesis, the emerging principal themes and their significance are discussed. The implications for nursing and for the PECOS study are also addressed.