Although there is no strong evidence for certain personality characteristics being more or less amenable to healing, Simonton and Matthews-Simonton’s (1994) clinical observations of survivors of cancer were compared to the results of this study. These “survivors” were found to be: rarely docile; were non-conformists; had permissive morality; and had a appreciation of diversity. Several of these characteristics relate to active participation since they describe someone who would not passively allow healing to happen but would be involved in whatever was happening in their life.
The possible effects of an optimal attitude, a desire for control, and a certain amount of independence were noted earlier. These are all similar to the traits of the “survivors. ” Physical care is a more obvious area where one can actively participate in healing. The participants focused less on this area but they did believe that exercise and nutrition were important for general health and therefore for healing. Some paid particular attention to exercise and nutrition for faster recovery.
Those who required exercise to regain functioning after their particular surgery were eager to begin as quickly as possible. For example, Michelsen and Askanzi (1996) discussed the importance of nutrition during stress and injury. Schumann (1999) described the specific nutritional needs to promote would healing after surgery. She also discussed the importance of overall health in post-operative recovery. Kobasa, Maddi and Puccetti (1992) reported exercise to be associated with lower overall illness scores in executives under stress.
Active Participation is supported in relation to health if not to healing by literature in the areas of control, attitude, and physical care. It is also supported theoretically as a concept, by literature related to self-healing and self-care. It appears that social support needs vary as healing progresses and this idea is not addresses in the literature. At this point the connections are fragmented but have promise to support the existence of the Active Participation theme. With the exception of privacy needs and social support issues, no literature could be found that contradicted this theme.
Achieving Balance was discussed most frequently in terms of overdoing and under doing and the mind-body connection. Participants touched on balance with issues such as dependence-independence, time allocation between work and play, social and private time, and exercise and relaxation. There was also more subtle undercurrent that is difficult to describe. They wanted to get back to “normal” where they no longer were so consciously aware of their functioning and were not so out of touch with the mainstream of life; to gain an overall “life balance.
” Nurses deal with the issue of balance as it is conceptualized in this model. Beuman’s Systems Model describes organisms in a process of homeostasis with an ongoing play between balance and imbalance and equilibrium (Neuman, 1996). Rogers (2001) would not use the word balance because of its static nature but her concept of homeodynamics is in some ways similar to these participants’ descriptions. Their balance is not static but changing and like Rogers could be describing movement along a spiralling axis with rhythms and patterns.