Title

Social and Occupational Participation of Adults Living in the Community Post Spinal Cord Injury: Occupational Therapy’s Role

Start Time

14-10-2009 7:00 PM

End Time

14-10-2009 9:00 PM

Abstract

Engagement in occupations, social roles and community life are positively related to health, well being and life satisfaction. Adults with SCI tend to stay home after rehabilitation which limits their opportunities for social and occupational participation, and places them at greater risk for health problems such as depression and heart disease. Research confirms that occupational engagement positively affects health, well-being and life satisfaction. Conversely, social isolation is negatively correlated with life satisfaction. There is limited research documenting client perspectives of life satisfaction, quality of life, and social and occupational participation. The main objective of occupational therapy is to assist people to participate in their everyday occupations. There is a paucity of research on therapeutic approaches that address the social and occupational participation of individuals with SCI. The aims of the study were to investigate what contributes to life satisfaction and participation in individuals with SCI living in the community, and to explore aspects of occupational therapy that contributed to those outcomes. Data were collected through open-ended, semi-structured interviews with fifteen adults with SCI living in the community 1-5 years post injury to explore 1) their life satisfaction and how they rate themselves according to their own definition of a good life, 2) their social and occupational participation, and 3) which, if any, aspects of their occupational therapy addressed their participation. Narrative analysis revealed that participants went through a social-emotional adaptive process in order to feel socially attractive, an outcome characterized by comments such as “I’m still me.” The participants used many strategies to resume social and occupational participation, such as social engineering, managing people’s assumptions, getting comfortable in their “own skin,” feeling that “we’re not much different,” and feeling valued by others. Occupational therapy approaches that participants identified as useful included: therapists acting as social partners, doing with, arranging for peer mentoring, involving family and friends, and taking clients into the community. These findings give examples of best occupational therapy practice that promoted social and occupational participation of the participants. They contribute to occupational science regarding how individuals with SCI living in the community re-create meaningful social and occupational lives and how occupation-based practice may support these outcomes. The presenter will be prepared to discuss contributions of the study to occupational science and occupational therapy.

References

Hammell, K. W. (2004). Quality of life among people with high spinal cord injury living in the community. Spinal Cord, 42(11), 607-620. DOI: 10.1038/sj.sc.3101662

Ward, K., Mitchell, J., & Price, P. (2007). Occupation-based practice and its relationship to social and occupational participation in adults with spinal cord injury. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 27, 1-8. Access Article

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Oct 14th, 7:00 PM Oct 14th, 9:00 PM

Social and Occupational Participation of Adults Living in the Community Post Spinal Cord Injury: Occupational Therapy’s Role

Engagement in occupations, social roles and community life are positively related to health, well being and life satisfaction. Adults with SCI tend to stay home after rehabilitation which limits their opportunities for social and occupational participation, and places them at greater risk for health problems such as depression and heart disease. Research confirms that occupational engagement positively affects health, well-being and life satisfaction. Conversely, social isolation is negatively correlated with life satisfaction. There is limited research documenting client perspectives of life satisfaction, quality of life, and social and occupational participation. The main objective of occupational therapy is to assist people to participate in their everyday occupations. There is a paucity of research on therapeutic approaches that address the social and occupational participation of individuals with SCI. The aims of the study were to investigate what contributes to life satisfaction and participation in individuals with SCI living in the community, and to explore aspects of occupational therapy that contributed to those outcomes. Data were collected through open-ended, semi-structured interviews with fifteen adults with SCI living in the community 1-5 years post injury to explore 1) their life satisfaction and how they rate themselves according to their own definition of a good life, 2) their social and occupational participation, and 3) which, if any, aspects of their occupational therapy addressed their participation. Narrative analysis revealed that participants went through a social-emotional adaptive process in order to feel socially attractive, an outcome characterized by comments such as “I’m still me.” The participants used many strategies to resume social and occupational participation, such as social engineering, managing people’s assumptions, getting comfortable in their “own skin,” feeling that “we’re not much different,” and feeling valued by others. Occupational therapy approaches that participants identified as useful included: therapists acting as social partners, doing with, arranging for peer mentoring, involving family and friends, and taking clients into the community. These findings give examples of best occupational therapy practice that promoted social and occupational participation of the participants. They contribute to occupational science regarding how individuals with SCI living in the community re-create meaningful social and occupational lives and how occupation-based practice may support these outcomes. The presenter will be prepared to discuss contributions of the study to occupational science and occupational therapy.