Differing Levels of Self-Reported Dispositional Mindfulness in Relation to the Reported Well-Being of Professionals Working Within Oncology

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Andrew Greaves


In recent years, mindfulness has become popularised due to its perceived effectiveness in different areas of life. Most of the recent literature in regards to mindfulness however, has been after training programmes to cultivate it as a skill, while assessment of its effectiveness in different life domains has been completed using quantitative measures. The purpose of this research was to approach the area of mindfulness from a humanistic stance, and to not teach or do anything to the person but rather research the person for whom they already are, focusing on a dispositional personal strength; mindfulness. Professionals working within oncology were chosen as a population, because even though the experiences of cancer sufferers has been extensively researched, the experience of their carers has been somewhat neglected. I wanted to listen to their perceived well-being, based on their own constructs and experiences, in relation to different perspectives of self-reported mindfulness. Self reported levels of mindfulness were assessed in staff working within a private cancer hospital using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Maximum variation sampling was used to obtain both the higher and lower perspective levels of mindfulness. Due to a relatively low response rate, six individuals were asked to attend an interview - the three highest and three lowest scorers. Using a semi-structured interview in a qualitative methodology, questions were asked to generate experiences of well-being from individuals. Five themes were found after analysing the corpus of data using Thematic Analysis. The main themes that were identified in relation to well-being at work were; 'individual impact of working within oncology', 'patient relationships', 'staff relationships', 'transition from home to work', and 'environmental responses'. In presenting these themes it emerged that there were a wide range of views in regards to well-being. Different participants reported both positive and negative affects at work, particularly in relation to the impact of the deterioration of patients. Potentially, those participants who reported higher levels of perceived mindfulness experienced well-being more positively. Potentially, stronger relationships with both patients and colleagues were also had by those same participants, who interestingly, were less affected by work in their home life. They also potentially showed more resilience at work in being able to cope more effectively within the busy environment that was described. However, all participants described job enjoyment. Conclusions were drawn: Relationships are important with both patients and members of staff. A healthy work-life balance is also important. Mindfulness may aid the experience of well-being when working within oncology. Implications were presented in relation to mindfulness, Oncology and Counselling Psychology, with the potential for this research showing the effectiveness of mindfulness in its un-fabricated form in a naturalistic setting.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2015