Identifying the link between occupation and wellbeing in the homeless population: methodological issues

Thomas, Yvonne, Gray, Marion, and McGinty, Sue (2010) Identifying the link between occupation and wellbeing in the homeless population: methodological issues. In: Proceedings of 15th World Congress of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, p. 1405. From: 15th World Congress of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists , 4 - 7 May 2010, Santiago, Chile.

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Abstract

Introduction The link between occupation and wellbeing is frequently discussed in occupational therapy literature and is a foundational tenet of the profession. Wilcock (2006) proposes that human beings are by nature occupational beings and therefore engagement in occupation should be included in the health promotion agenda to improve health and wellbeing. Identifying the relationship between occupation and well-being in the homeless population is the goal of the authors' doctoral studies and presents methodological challenges in relation to this population.

Objectives This paper will explore the literature regarding the importance of occupation to well-being from different perspectives. Definitions of well-being will be discussed in relation to the experience of homelessness and poverty. Some initial finding from the research will be shared.

Methods The link between occupation and wellbeing as discussed in occupational therapy literature was explored to provide a theoretical basis for this project. The relationship between meaningful occupation and homelessness was explored and applied. Cultural definitions of well-being were also reviewed to provide a basis for the study which included both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Results The existing literature pertaining to occupation and wellbeing focuses largely on the experiences of those with physical or mental illnesses and the process of recovery and rehabilitation. There is minimal literature regarding the experiences of those that are occupationally marginalised for reasons of social exclusion and poverty, and yet these are perhaps the most vulnerable to lower levels of wellbeing. This discovery resulted in the development of a range of methods utilised to explore the meaning of wellbeing to people experiencing homelessness.

Conclusion There is a need for further research to back the professions claim for the health promoting effects of meaningful occupation. The development of specific tools and strategies that will enable research to be conducted is required.

Item ID: 16763
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
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Date Deposited: 09 May 2011 01:00
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110321 Rehabilitation and Therapy (excl Physiotherapy) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920201 Allied Health Therapies (excl. Mental Health Services) @ 100%
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