Title

On the Nature of the Concept ‘Life Balance’ Among a Working Population

Start Time

15-10-2009 10:45 AM

End Time

15-10-2009 11:15 AM

Abstract

People’s own perceptions of life balance have been investigated among persons with multiple sclerosis (Matuska & Erickson, 2008), rheumatoid arthritis (Stamm et al., 2009) and stress related disorders (Håkansson, Dahlin-Ivanoff, & Sonn, 2006). No study has been identified where people, without a certain diagnosis or life event, define life balance themselves. The aim of this study was to explore perceptions of life balance in a working population in Sweden. Exclusion criterion was continuous sick leave exceeding 30 days within the last two years. Nineteen participants (twelve women and seven men) were recruited by convenience and theoretical sampling and interviewed individually. The transcriptions were analyzed for a description grounded in data in line with the grounded theory method (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Life balance was seen in multiple time perspectives and as a dynamic phenomenon which changes both in the short and the long time perspective. Furthermore, life balance was individually defined and included four interrelated aspects: activity balance, physical and mental balance, balance in relation to others and, time balance. Life balance was also seen as related to health (physical and wellbeing) and promoted by several aspects of security, e.g. in the self and material/economical. A person’s life balance was seen as affected both by context and by more or less conscious individual strategies.Our conclusion is that the meaning of ‘life balance’ in this study of working people has the potential of universal applicability, since it corresponds well with findings from previous studies on people with disabling health conditions and Wilcocks’s (2006) theory.

References

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research (3rd ed.). London: SAGE Publication.

Håkansson, C., Dahlin-Ivanoff, S., & Sonn, U. (2006). Achieving balance in everyday life. Journal of Occupational Science, 13(1), 74-82. Access Article

Matuska, K. M., & Erickson, B. (2008). Lifestyle balance: How is it described and experienced by women with multiple sclerosis. Journal of Occupational Science, 15(1), 20-26. Access Article

Stamm, T., Lovelock, L., Stew, G., Nell, V., Smolen, J., Machold, K., et al. (2009). I have a disease but I am not ill: A narrative study of occupational balance in people with rheumatoid arthritis. OTJR:Occupation, Participation and Health, 29(1), 32-39. Access Article

Wilcock, A. A. (2006). An occupational perspective of health (2nd ed.): SLACK Incorporated.

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Oct 15th, 10:45 AM Oct 15th, 11:15 AM

On the Nature of the Concept ‘Life Balance’ Among a Working Population

People’s own perceptions of life balance have been investigated among persons with multiple sclerosis (Matuska & Erickson, 2008), rheumatoid arthritis (Stamm et al., 2009) and stress related disorders (Håkansson, Dahlin-Ivanoff, & Sonn, 2006). No study has been identified where people, without a certain diagnosis or life event, define life balance themselves. The aim of this study was to explore perceptions of life balance in a working population in Sweden. Exclusion criterion was continuous sick leave exceeding 30 days within the last two years. Nineteen participants (twelve women and seven men) were recruited by convenience and theoretical sampling and interviewed individually. The transcriptions were analyzed for a description grounded in data in line with the grounded theory method (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Life balance was seen in multiple time perspectives and as a dynamic phenomenon which changes both in the short and the long time perspective. Furthermore, life balance was individually defined and included four interrelated aspects: activity balance, physical and mental balance, balance in relation to others and, time balance. Life balance was also seen as related to health (physical and wellbeing) and promoted by several aspects of security, e.g. in the self and material/economical. A person’s life balance was seen as affected both by context and by more or less conscious individual strategies.Our conclusion is that the meaning of ‘life balance’ in this study of working people has the potential of universal applicability, since it corresponds well with findings from previous studies on people with disabling health conditions and Wilcocks’s (2006) theory.