Title

Work and Recovery: A Study of Meaning

Start Time

16-10-2009 9:30 AM

End Time

16-10-2009 11:00 AM

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the meaning persons with mental illness living in the community ascribe to work and their perceptions of its influence on their recovery process. Methods A cross-sectional, mixed methods design was used in the study. Participants completed an individual, semi-structured interview focused on work experiences and recovery, and also discussed work-related environmental supports and barriers from items structured from the following categories: physical, social, cultural, financial, and organizational. Participants: A convenience sampling method was employed, and involved recruitment at one outpatient psychosocial rehabilitation program in the Baltimore, MD metropolitan area. Eight participants completed the study. All participants were working part-time and receiving some level of supported employment services. Data collection: Each participant completed an indepth semi-structured interview of approximately one hour in length with a trained researcher that primarily discussed their feelings and beliefs about work experiences and recovery. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim, and reviewed in a second interview with the participant as a means of member checking. Analysis: Each trained researcher reviewed the transcript multiple times and identified and recorded themes that emerged from the data. Then, another trained researcher reviewed the transcript and independently identified themes from the data. The two researchers shared themes, reviewed the transcripts again, and agreed upon final themes. Findings were distilled into three basic themes and sub-themes that fit within the three categories. Pre-determined codes were used for the environmental supports and barriers interview items, and participant responses were identified in each corresponding area. These were also reviewed individually by each researcher and shared and agreed upon in the final analysis. Results: Three major themes emerged about the meaning of work, including: Work takes daily effort Work provides a normalizing routine Work provides social belonging Identified environmental supports relative to work and recovery were primarily social and included support of mental health providers, work colleagues and work supervisor. Identified barriers included job factors such as hours and personal factors related to illness management. Future study will include additional interview and observational contacts with participants to enable deeper understanding of work experiences, particularly those related to understanding the fit between the person and the work environment.

References

Borg, M., & Davidson, L. (2008). The nature of recovery as lived in everyday experiences. Journal of Mental Health, 17(2), 129-140. DOI: 10.1080/09638230701498382

Dunn, E. C., Wewiorski, N. J., & Rogers, E. S. (2008). The meaning and importance of employment to people in recovery from serious mental illness: Results of a qualitative study. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 32(1), 59-62. DOI: 10.2975/32.1.2008.59.62

Gahnstrom-Strandqvist, K., Liukko, A., & Tham, K. (2003). The meaning of the working cooperative for persons with long-term mental illness: A phenomenological study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57(3), 262-272. DOI: 10.5014/ajot.57.3.262

Law, M., Cooper, B., Strong, S., Stewart, D., Rigby, P., & Letts, L. (1996). The personenvironment- occupation model: A transactive approach to occupational performance. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63, 9-23.

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Oct 16th, 9:30 AM Oct 16th, 11:00 AM

Work and Recovery: A Study of Meaning

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the meaning persons with mental illness living in the community ascribe to work and their perceptions of its influence on their recovery process. Methods A cross-sectional, mixed methods design was used in the study. Participants completed an individual, semi-structured interview focused on work experiences and recovery, and also discussed work-related environmental supports and barriers from items structured from the following categories: physical, social, cultural, financial, and organizational. Participants: A convenience sampling method was employed, and involved recruitment at one outpatient psychosocial rehabilitation program in the Baltimore, MD metropolitan area. Eight participants completed the study. All participants were working part-time and receiving some level of supported employment services. Data collection: Each participant completed an indepth semi-structured interview of approximately one hour in length with a trained researcher that primarily discussed their feelings and beliefs about work experiences and recovery. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim, and reviewed in a second interview with the participant as a means of member checking. Analysis: Each trained researcher reviewed the transcript multiple times and identified and recorded themes that emerged from the data. Then, another trained researcher reviewed the transcript and independently identified themes from the data. The two researchers shared themes, reviewed the transcripts again, and agreed upon final themes. Findings were distilled into three basic themes and sub-themes that fit within the three categories. Pre-determined codes were used for the environmental supports and barriers interview items, and participant responses were identified in each corresponding area. These were also reviewed individually by each researcher and shared and agreed upon in the final analysis. Results: Three major themes emerged about the meaning of work, including: Work takes daily effort Work provides a normalizing routine Work provides social belonging Identified environmental supports relative to work and recovery were primarily social and included support of mental health providers, work colleagues and work supervisor. Identified barriers included job factors such as hours and personal factors related to illness management. Future study will include additional interview and observational contacts with participants to enable deeper understanding of work experiences, particularly those related to understanding the fit between the person and the work environment.