University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Lived Experience of People with Mental Health and Substance Misuse Problems: Dimensions of Belonging

Blank, Alison, Finlay, L. and Prior, S. (2016) The Lived Experience of People with Mental Health and Substance Misuse Problems: Dimensions of Belonging. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 79 (7). pp. 434-441. ISSN 0308-0226 Online: 1477-6006

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Introduction: People with co-occurring mental health and substance misuse problems are among the most excluded in society. A need to feel connected to others has been articulated in the occupational science literature although the concept of belonging itself has not been extensively explored within this paradigm. This paper reports findings from research that explored the meaning and experience of belonging for four people living with dual diagnosis in the United Kingdom. Method: Researchers employed an interpretative phenomenological approach to the study. Four semi-structured interviews were carried out. The interviews were guided by questions around the meaning of belonging, barriers to belonging and how belonging and not belonging impacted on participants’ lives. Data analysis facilitated the identification of themes across individual accounts and enabled comparisons. Findings: Data analysis identified four themes – belonging in family, belonging in place, embodied understandings of belonging and barriers to belonging. Conclusion: The findings add further insights into the mutable nature of belonging. A link between sense of belonging and attachment theory has been proposed, along with a way to understand the changeable and dependent nature of belonging through ‘dimensions of belonging’.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

The full-text can be accessed via the Official URL.

Uncontrolled Keywords: belonging, mental health, substance misuse
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Health and Society
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Copyright Info: Open Access journal article
Depositing User: Alison Blank
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2016 13:11
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2017 14:10

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