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Understanding Australian rural women's ways of achieving health and wellbeing: a metasynthesis of the literature

  • Year: 2007
  • Author: Harvey, D J
  • Journal Name: Rural and Remote Health
  • Journal Number: 7
  • Country: Australia

Although Australian rural women appear to be coping well despite a lack of services, harsh environmental conditions and overall rural health disadvantage, there is little research into the factors that promote good health among them. The aim of this article is to document and analyse current understandings about how rural Australian women maintain health and wellbeing, by conducting a metasynthesis of peer reviewed empirical qualitative research. Six studies published in rural health, nursing and sociology journals between 2001 and 2006 were selected. Four common and recurring themes from the studies were identified: isolation; belonging; coping with adversity; and rural identity. The findings of this study exhibit a tension between a sense of belonging and the experience of social and geographical isolation. They also reveal tension between adherence to a strong gendered rural identity, which fosters a culture of stoicism and self reliance, and feelings of resistance to societal expectations of coping with adversity.

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