Title

T-ball and Alcoholism: An Examination of Family Occupations

Location

Room C

Start Time

19-10-2013 9:35 AM

End Time

19-10-2013 10:05 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Past studies of family occupations have focused primarily on positive health benefits and participation by the entire family (Sachs & Nasser, 2009; Segal, 1999). Within my research on fathers of children with disabilities, I found that the fathers’ stories around meaningful participation with their families often did not fit with current descriptions of family occupations. In this paper I present two examples of activities fathers have identified as meaningful and argue that they are indeed family occupations. First, I present the example of a family that values their participation in t-ball/softball/baseball, emphasizing that the meaningfulness and belonging created through this occupation is an important and defining aspect of their family. Second, I present the struggle with alcoholism as a family occupation. Similarly, past researchers have argued that addictive behaviors such as alcoholism met the criteria for occupations (Kiepek & Magalhaes, 2011). My own research demonstrates that one family’s struggle to overcome the influence of alcoholism builds and defines their family in a way that warrants examination as a family occupation.

This paper comes out of an ethnographic study examining the experience of five fathers of children with disabilities, utilizing narrative phenomenology as both a theoretical lens and research methodology. Collection of data lasted over a year and included monthly interviews with each father as well as observations of the fathers interacting with their children. Data analysis was based on narrative phenomenology, combining hermeneutics and literary theory (Mattingly, 1998, 2010). Analysis included identification of themes, narrative analysis of stories, and evaluation of findings by other researchers experienced in narrative.

A reexamination of family occupations offers several important implications for occupational science. First, this paper offers an exploration of the construction of family occupations that provides insight into how families develop over time. Whereas participation in t-ball grew out of a mutual construction for one family, alcoholism was thrust open another family resulting in lingering consequences. Second, a relationship between family occupations and both positive and negative health consequences is proposed. Third, I conceptualize family occupations as not necessarily occurring in shared time and space, but occupations that build and define families. This research relates to occupation and education in that a new conceptualization of family occupations and how families are defined through occupations is provided.

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Oct 19th, 9:35 AM Oct 19th, 10:05 AM

T-ball and Alcoholism: An Examination of Family Occupations

Room C

Past studies of family occupations have focused primarily on positive health benefits and participation by the entire family (Sachs & Nasser, 2009; Segal, 1999). Within my research on fathers of children with disabilities, I found that the fathers’ stories around meaningful participation with their families often did not fit with current descriptions of family occupations. In this paper I present two examples of activities fathers have identified as meaningful and argue that they are indeed family occupations. First, I present the example of a family that values their participation in t-ball/softball/baseball, emphasizing that the meaningfulness and belonging created through this occupation is an important and defining aspect of their family. Second, I present the struggle with alcoholism as a family occupation. Similarly, past researchers have argued that addictive behaviors such as alcoholism met the criteria for occupations (Kiepek & Magalhaes, 2011). My own research demonstrates that one family’s struggle to overcome the influence of alcoholism builds and defines their family in a way that warrants examination as a family occupation.

This paper comes out of an ethnographic study examining the experience of five fathers of children with disabilities, utilizing narrative phenomenology as both a theoretical lens and research methodology. Collection of data lasted over a year and included monthly interviews with each father as well as observations of the fathers interacting with their children. Data analysis was based on narrative phenomenology, combining hermeneutics and literary theory (Mattingly, 1998, 2010). Analysis included identification of themes, narrative analysis of stories, and evaluation of findings by other researchers experienced in narrative.

A reexamination of family occupations offers several important implications for occupational science. First, this paper offers an exploration of the construction of family occupations that provides insight into how families develop over time. Whereas participation in t-ball grew out of a mutual construction for one family, alcoholism was thrust open another family resulting in lingering consequences. Second, a relationship between family occupations and both positive and negative health consequences is proposed. Third, I conceptualize family occupations as not necessarily occurring in shared time and space, but occupations that build and define families. This research relates to occupation and education in that a new conceptualization of family occupations and how families are defined through occupations is provided.