Title

Co-occupations of Mothers with Young Children who are Homeless

Start Time

22-10-2011 9:05 AM

End Time

22-10-2011 9:35 AM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

The purpose of this study was an exploration of mother child co-occupations in families with infants and toddlers who were homeless. Children who are homeless are at risk for developmental stress and trauma that can contribute to occupational deprivation, potentially limiting participation in occupations essential to healthy growth and development 1,2,5 . Mothers of children who are homeless must engage in cooccupations to care for their children in environments that are challenging to the coherence of family being. Participants were sixty- eight mothers residing in a transitional living center who were interviewed as part of a developmental screening, a component of which focused on the mental health of their children, birth to three years of age. Data was analyzed by descriptive statistics and qualitative coding. Methods of prolonged engagement and constant comparison assured validity of the research.

Results identified 25% of infants with mental health concerns. Co-occupation qualitative analyses discovered four thematic categories that contributed to an understanding of mother child co-occupations: 1) Child behavior characteristic themes, identified as enjoyable, were narratives of children who were happy, easy, quick learners, and kind, 2) Parent global developmental concern about their child themes included poor social, emotional, and developmental/health, 3) Daily mother-child co-occupations themes were grounded in care giving, intimacy, and play, 4) Enjoyable co-occupation themes in mother-child dyads, without child mental health concerns, included feeding and playing; whereas in mother-child dyads with mental health concerns, cuddling and rocking were most common. These results validate the development of family co-occupations in daily routines and support interventions that address mental health within natural environments. This occupational just and family- centered approach facilitates best practice with mothers and young children who are homeless 3,4.

Discussion Objectives:

  1. What impact does the experience of being homeless have on the daily co-occupations of mothers and young children?
  2. How can occupational science research, with a unique focus on mother child co-occupations, contribute to interdisciplinary policy and intervention agendas to address needs of mothers and young children who are homeless.

References

Bassuk, E. and Rubin, L. (1987). Homeless children: A neglected population. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57(2), 279-286. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-0025.1987.tb03538.x

Gewirtz, A.H., DeGarmo, D.S., Plowman, E. J., August, G., & Realmuto, G. (2009). Parenting, parental mental health, and child functioning in families residing in supportive housing. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 79(3), 336-347. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0016732

McNulty, M.C., Crowe, T. K., Kroening, C. VanLeit, B., & Good, R. (2009). Time use of women with children living in an emergency homeless shelter for survivors of domestic violence. OTJR Occupation, Participation and Health,29(4), 183-190. http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/15394492-20090914-06

Schultz-Krohn, W. (2004). The meaning of family routines in a homeless shelter. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58(5), 531-542. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.58.5.531

Townsend, E. & Wilcock, A.A. (2004). Occupational justice and client-centered practice: A dialogue in progress. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77(2), 75-87.

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Research paper

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Oct 22nd, 9:05 AM Oct 22nd, 9:35 AM

Co-occupations of Mothers with Young Children who are Homeless

The purpose of this study was an exploration of mother child co-occupations in families with infants and toddlers who were homeless. Children who are homeless are at risk for developmental stress and trauma that can contribute to occupational deprivation, potentially limiting participation in occupations essential to healthy growth and development 1,2,5 . Mothers of children who are homeless must engage in cooccupations to care for their children in environments that are challenging to the coherence of family being. Participants were sixty- eight mothers residing in a transitional living center who were interviewed as part of a developmental screening, a component of which focused on the mental health of their children, birth to three years of age. Data was analyzed by descriptive statistics and qualitative coding. Methods of prolonged engagement and constant comparison assured validity of the research.

Results identified 25% of infants with mental health concerns. Co-occupation qualitative analyses discovered four thematic categories that contributed to an understanding of mother child co-occupations: 1) Child behavior characteristic themes, identified as enjoyable, were narratives of children who were happy, easy, quick learners, and kind, 2) Parent global developmental concern about their child themes included poor social, emotional, and developmental/health, 3) Daily mother-child co-occupations themes were grounded in care giving, intimacy, and play, 4) Enjoyable co-occupation themes in mother-child dyads, without child mental health concerns, included feeding and playing; whereas in mother-child dyads with mental health concerns, cuddling and rocking were most common. These results validate the development of family co-occupations in daily routines and support interventions that address mental health within natural environments. This occupational just and family- centered approach facilitates best practice with mothers and young children who are homeless 3,4.

Discussion Objectives:

  1. What impact does the experience of being homeless have on the daily co-occupations of mothers and young children?
  2. How can occupational science research, with a unique focus on mother child co-occupations, contribute to interdisciplinary policy and intervention agendas to address needs of mothers and young children who are homeless.