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Title: Spiritual wellbeing and the human-nature relationship : an exploration of the spiritual wellbeing experiences of home and community gardeners
Author: Bell-Williams, Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 9750
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2016
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In recent years, wellbeing has emerged as a way to describe the holistic health of a population. This thesis explores the premise that spiritual wellbeing, an often neglected and poorly understood dimension of the wellbeing spectrum, may offer a complementary and cohesive element to physical, mental and social wellbeing. Nature-based activities hold promise for developing spiritual wellbeing, but prior research has focussed primarily on wilderness settings. Such spaces are increasingly rare and for individuals living in urbanised areas it is of equal importance to identify the spiritual wellbeing benefits from nearby and everyday nature spaces. As accessible nature spaces, gardens and gardening activity provide an often undervalued opportunity through which individuals can engage with local nature. Gardeners may therefore be able to offer a unique insight into the role that interaction with nature may play in spiritual wellbeing. This study therefore focuses on how spiritual wellbeing may be enhanced and developed through interaction with nature in the context of urban gardens. The study consists of two phases: Phase One focussed on community gardeners and was used to scope the topic and methodologies; Phase Two used semi-structured interviews with 25 gardeners to explore how spiritual wellbeing related to their gardening experiences. Thematic analysis of the data revealed that in the context of gardening, spiritual wellbeing is supported and developed through four key themes of: Contribution, Connection, Awareness, and Being Self, as expressed through a meaningful relationship with An-Other. Previous spiritual wellbeing studies have highlighted the concept of a relationship with the ‘Other’ and wellbeing models often cite human-human relationships as important in developing wellbeing. Findings from the study suggest that interaction with nature, through the partnership activity of gardening, provides a human-nature relationship that may offer equivalent benefits in developing spiritual wellbeing. The findings may offer a novel approach to help address contemporary wellbeing issues, whilst also adding a new significance to the urban garden.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available