University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

‘Without Occupation You Don't Exist’: Occupational Engagement and Mental Illness.

Blank, Alison, Harries, P. and Reynolds, F. (2014) ‘Without Occupation You Don't Exist’: Occupational Engagement and Mental Illness. Journal of Occupational Science, 22 (2). pp. 197-209. ISSN Print: 1442-7591 Online: 2158-1576

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In this Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) we set out to explore the meanings of work for people living with severe and enduring mental health problems. The participants were three women and seven men who were attending a mental health day centre. Data were collected through up to three depth interviews with each participant over eighteen months. The interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Following transcription data were analysed according to IPA principles. Two overarching themes were identified. Building and maintaining an occupational identity expressed the ways in which participants used occupations as the building blocks of an evolving identity. Most of the participants wanted to work, and participation in occupations was seen as an essential to recovery from mental ill health. Work, and other ways of belonging encapsulated the need to feel connected to others. Many of the participants envisaged working as a way of achieving this. The longitudinal nature of the study facilitated engagement with the developing narratives and exploration of the changes and consistencies in the participants’ meaning making about their occupations. Implications for understanding individuals’ occupational participation which enhances a sense of self, and promotes feelings of belonging are identified.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

The full-text of the online published article can be accessed via the Official URL.

Title of submitted article "‘Unless you have some kind of occupation you don’t really exist’. Occupational engagement and mental illness: an interpretative phenomenological analysis".

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: work, meaning, occupation, adults living with mental health problems, interpretative phenomenological analysis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
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Copyright Info: Open Access article
Depositing User: Alison Blank
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2015 13:14
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:06

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