Title

Learning, growing, and navigating occupations in the face of divorce: Adolescents’ daily occupations and meaningfulness following a parental divorce or marital separation

Start Time

22-10-2011 9:40 AM

End Time

22-10-2011 10:10 AM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

In North America, adolescence is a period of learning, growth, and navigation of roles and occupations that will ultimately influence later occupational choices (Furstenberg, 2000). While navigating their social roles and exploring who they are and wish to be, adolescents are also forming their views on social norms along with their social and occupational identities. A parental divorce or martial separation at this period has been depicted as wholly negative for adolescents, leading to problems in development and adherence to social norms and values (Kelly, 2000). A parental divorce or marital separation will affect adolescents’ abilities to engage in some of the daily occupations that they need or want to due to changed economic, social, familial and emotional factors in their lives. The meanings that adolescents associate with occupations may also change at this time, which will impact their internalization of lifelong occupations.

In this study, we use a participatory critical visual methodology (de Lange, Mitchell & Stuart, 2007) to explore how adolescents experience parental divorce or marital separation. From our critical perspective, ‘adolescence,’ ‘family,’ and the nature and affects of divorce are all culturally constructed, therefore we have limited our ventures into the literature to North American, English-language studies that were published in roughly the last decade, and are limiting our data collection to the Toronto Jewish community, a culturally similar group to further solidify the cultural and social contexts in which family and divorce are constructed. We are working with both the adolescents themselves as well as service providers – including social workers, counselors, guidance counselors and teachers among others – to give anecdotal information on this population as well as to provide insight into the systems and social barriers that these adolescents and their families must navigate.

With this research we hope to contribute to the research that presents asset-based approaches to adolescent life following a parental divorce or martial separation, as well as the information that comes from the perspective of the adolescents themselves. We also hope to further explore occupations and occupation building in adolescents. Finally, we hope to add to the growing literature on the use of critical visual methodologies in both the field of occupational science, and in health research in general.

Objectives for discussion period:

  1. The role of adolescent occupations and occupation acquisition
  2. The North American construction of ‘family’ and ‘divorce,’ and how they may affect societal perceptions of how a divorce will impact occupational engagement for teenagers
  3. Structural and financial impacts on occupational engagement
  4. What participatory research can offer occupational science, rather than researcher-driven inquiry

References

de Lange, N., Mitchell, C., & Stuart, J. (Eds.) (2007). Putting People in the Picture: Visual Methodologies for Social Change. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Furstenberg, F.F. (2000). The sociology of adolescence and youth in the 1990s: A critical commentary. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62(4), 896-910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.00896.x

Kelly, J.B. (2000). Children’s adjustment in conflicted marriage and divorce: A decade review of research. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 39(8), 963-973. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00004583-200008000-00007

Kelly, M.B. (2010). The processing of divorce cases through civil court in seven provinces and territories. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. pp. 5, 20. Retrieved June 2, 2010 from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2010001/article/11158-eng.pdf

Reed, K., Hocking, C. & Smythe, L. (2010). The interconnected meanings of occupation: The call, being-with, possibilities. Journal of Occupational Science, 17(3), 140-149. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2010.9686688

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Oct 22nd, 9:40 AM Oct 22nd, 10:10 AM

Learning, growing, and navigating occupations in the face of divorce: Adolescents’ daily occupations and meaningfulness following a parental divorce or marital separation

In North America, adolescence is a period of learning, growth, and navigation of roles and occupations that will ultimately influence later occupational choices (Furstenberg, 2000). While navigating their social roles and exploring who they are and wish to be, adolescents are also forming their views on social norms along with their social and occupational identities. A parental divorce or martial separation at this period has been depicted as wholly negative for adolescents, leading to problems in development and adherence to social norms and values (Kelly, 2000). A parental divorce or marital separation will affect adolescents’ abilities to engage in some of the daily occupations that they need or want to due to changed economic, social, familial and emotional factors in their lives. The meanings that adolescents associate with occupations may also change at this time, which will impact their internalization of lifelong occupations.

In this study, we use a participatory critical visual methodology (de Lange, Mitchell & Stuart, 2007) to explore how adolescents experience parental divorce or marital separation. From our critical perspective, ‘adolescence,’ ‘family,’ and the nature and affects of divorce are all culturally constructed, therefore we have limited our ventures into the literature to North American, English-language studies that were published in roughly the last decade, and are limiting our data collection to the Toronto Jewish community, a culturally similar group to further solidify the cultural and social contexts in which family and divorce are constructed. We are working with both the adolescents themselves as well as service providers – including social workers, counselors, guidance counselors and teachers among others – to give anecdotal information on this population as well as to provide insight into the systems and social barriers that these adolescents and their families must navigate.

With this research we hope to contribute to the research that presents asset-based approaches to adolescent life following a parental divorce or martial separation, as well as the information that comes from the perspective of the adolescents themselves. We also hope to further explore occupations and occupation building in adolescents. Finally, we hope to add to the growing literature on the use of critical visual methodologies in both the field of occupational science, and in health research in general.

Objectives for discussion period:

  1. The role of adolescent occupations and occupation acquisition
  2. The North American construction of ‘family’ and ‘divorce,’ and how they may affect societal perceptions of how a divorce will impact occupational engagement for teenagers
  3. Structural and financial impacts on occupational engagement
  4. What participatory research can offer occupational science, rather than researcher-driven inquiry