Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Julie Duckart

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Second Advisor

Anne Fleischer

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Third Advisor

Dana M. Howell

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy


Objective: Over the past two decades there has been significant research on the benefits of leisure participation in increasing quality of life (QoL). Additionally, there is a substantial foundation of research exploring the role of leisure engagement in life-threatening illness and cancer. The aim of this study is to explore the role of regular hobby participation on QoL with regards to finding purpose and meaning making, increased coping skills, and social support through hobby participation during breast cancer treatment.

Method: Qualitative descriptive study using snowball sampling for participant recruitment. Data collected through semi-structured interviews. Data analysis completed through process of in vivo coding, categorization, and theming.

Findings: Major themes found were (1) hobby participation was unimportant during early stages of cancer diagnosis, (2) level of participation impacted overall emotional state, (3) hobby participation strengthened relationships, and (4) cancer experience led to post-traumatic growth.

Conclusion: Hobby participation during cancer treatment is believed to increase quality of life during the course of breast cancer treatment based on data collected from participants after completion of cancer treatment. With increased understanding of the role of occupational engagement during cancer treatment, there is room for occupational therapy to increase preventative services for individuals experiencing cancer.