Title

Occupational Engagement and Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review

Start Time

5-10-2012 10:55 AM

End Time

5-10-2012 11:25 AM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

A systematic review, sponsored and coordinated by the American Occupational Therapy Association, was conducted to explore the existing evidence for the health benefits of engagement in occupations and activities among older adults by answering the focused question, “What is the evidence that participation in occupation and activities supports the health of community-dwelling older adults?”. The process involved a team of nine individuals who collectively agreed upon areas of occupations to explore, the search terms, databases for searching, and inclusion/exclusion criteria. The team collaborated with an external research librarian to conduct the literature searches using the pre-determined search terms and databases and compile all potential articles. Each article title and abstract was reviewed for consideration of preliminary inclusion based on inclusion criteria and relevance to answer the focused question. Each article was then reviewed in its entirety by a sub-team for a final inclusion decision. The exhaustive search of the national and international literature across health and social disciplines yielded 98 peer-reviewed journal articles demonstrating the strong relationship between health and occupational engagement. The final 98 articles were reviewed, critiqued, and synthesized into a collective Critically Appraised Topic (CAT), peer-reviewed journal manuscript, and practice guidelines.

The review incorporated the breadth of areas of occupation in which older adults engage and the range of health benefits and health risks derived from that engagement. The results of this review demonstrated the multidisciplinary appreciation for occupational engagement and associated well-being and elucidate the health effects of engagement in a wide variety of occupations and activities. The literature revealed older adults’ participation in occupations and activities could be grouped into the following categories: IADLs, work, sleep, and physical, social, leisure, and religious activities and generated health outcomes including lower mortality rates, reduced health care utilization, declined rate of dementia progression, improved mental health, and lower rates of depression. Additionally, the results of this systematic review support occupational therapy’s historical ideologies and core philosophies linking occupational engagement to improved health and well-being. The findings suggest a increasing opportunities for occupational scientists and roles for occupational therapy in community-based health promotion and prevention efforts to meet the everyday occupational and health needs of the growing older adult population.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What responsibility, if any, do we as occupational scientists have to make linkages between occupation and health or any other construct; or is it enough to study occupation in its raw from?
  2. Most of the studies in this review were large scale (with thousands of participants gathered longitudinally). Is the mere fact that there was engagement in an occupation enough to draw conclusions about the health benefits without knowing the motivation, experience, or meaning derived from that engagement? If so, what does that mean for the value we place on meaning in occupation?
  3. How can occupational scientists use large scale studies such as the ones in this review as vehicles for promotion and recognition of the discipline of occupational science?

References

Dahan-Oliel, N., Gelinas, I., & Mazer, B. (2008). Social participation in the elderly: What does the literature tell us. Critical Reviews in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 20, 159–176. http://dx.doi.org/10.1615/CritRevPhysRehabilMed.v20.i2.40

Glass,T. A., Mendes de Leon,C., Marottoli, R. A., & Berkman, L. F. (1999). Population based study of social and productive activities as predictors of survival among elderly Americans. British Medical Journal, 319, 478–483. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7208.478

Musick, M. A., & Wilson, J. (2003). Volunteering and depression: The role of psychological and social resources in different age groups. Social Science and Medicine, 56, 259–269. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0277-9536(02)00025-4

Strawbridge, W. J., Cohen, R. D., & Shema, S. J. (2000). Comparative strength of association between religious attendance and survival. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 30, 299–308.

Verghese, J., Lipton, R. B., Katz, M. J., Hall, C. B., Derby, C. A., Kuslansky, G., et al. (2003). Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly. New England Journal of Medicine, 348, 2508–2516. http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa022252

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Oct 5th, 10:55 AM Oct 5th, 11:25 AM

Occupational Engagement and Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review

A systematic review, sponsored and coordinated by the American Occupational Therapy Association, was conducted to explore the existing evidence for the health benefits of engagement in occupations and activities among older adults by answering the focused question, “What is the evidence that participation in occupation and activities supports the health of community-dwelling older adults?”. The process involved a team of nine individuals who collectively agreed upon areas of occupations to explore, the search terms, databases for searching, and inclusion/exclusion criteria. The team collaborated with an external research librarian to conduct the literature searches using the pre-determined search terms and databases and compile all potential articles. Each article title and abstract was reviewed for consideration of preliminary inclusion based on inclusion criteria and relevance to answer the focused question. Each article was then reviewed in its entirety by a sub-team for a final inclusion decision. The exhaustive search of the national and international literature across health and social disciplines yielded 98 peer-reviewed journal articles demonstrating the strong relationship between health and occupational engagement. The final 98 articles were reviewed, critiqued, and synthesized into a collective Critically Appraised Topic (CAT), peer-reviewed journal manuscript, and practice guidelines.

The review incorporated the breadth of areas of occupation in which older adults engage and the range of health benefits and health risks derived from that engagement. The results of this review demonstrated the multidisciplinary appreciation for occupational engagement and associated well-being and elucidate the health effects of engagement in a wide variety of occupations and activities. The literature revealed older adults’ participation in occupations and activities could be grouped into the following categories: IADLs, work, sleep, and physical, social, leisure, and religious activities and generated health outcomes including lower mortality rates, reduced health care utilization, declined rate of dementia progression, improved mental health, and lower rates of depression. Additionally, the results of this systematic review support occupational therapy’s historical ideologies and core philosophies linking occupational engagement to improved health and well-being. The findings suggest a increasing opportunities for occupational scientists and roles for occupational therapy in community-based health promotion and prevention efforts to meet the everyday occupational and health needs of the growing older adult population.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What responsibility, if any, do we as occupational scientists have to make linkages between occupation and health or any other construct; or is it enough to study occupation in its raw from?
  2. Most of the studies in this review were large scale (with thousands of participants gathered longitudinally). Is the mere fact that there was engagement in an occupation enough to draw conclusions about the health benefits without knowing the motivation, experience, or meaning derived from that engagement? If so, what does that mean for the value we place on meaning in occupation?
  3. How can occupational scientists use large scale studies such as the ones in this review as vehicles for promotion and recognition of the discipline of occupational science?