Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Nursing


School of Nursing


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Anne Murray


The study reported in this thesis describes and analyses the experience of 15 men with long term mental illness, living and/or working at a rural farm and hostel complex. The research was set in the context of recent studies and literature focussing on the transfer of care of people with mental illness from large psychiatric hospitals to community based care and the consequent quality of life issues. A phenomenological approach was chosen as the most appropriate for the study, in order to understand the meaning of the residents' experience. Data was obtained from three sources: in-depth interviews with 2 key informants, 50 hours participant observation involving 15 residents and 8 staff and focussed or semi-structured interviews with 10 participants. The Ethnograph computer program was utilised to facilitate and expedite analysis of the resulting large volume of data.