Title

Differences between Meaningful and Psychologically Rewarding Occupations: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

1

Location

Studio 1

Start Time

21-10-2017 2:30 PM

End Time

21-10-2017 3:30 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Purpose of the Study. To investigate whether: 1) there were differences between psychologically rewarding and meaningful occupations; 2) there were differences between South Dakota and South African research participants regarding perceptions of meaningful and psychologically rewarding occupations; and 3) psychological rewards contributed to the perceived meaningfulness of occupations.

Methods. Fifty two individuals participated in the study (twenty from four public Universities in South Dakota, United States, and 32 from a University in Cape Town, South Africa). Participants were randomly cued on the phone 5 times/day, Monday through Sunday. Each time when cued, they documented what they were doing, with whom, and the type of occupation in which they were engaged. They responded to two questionnaires inquiring about their mood and perceived meaning of the occupation in their lives. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), analysis of variance (ANOVA), t-test, and Chi-Square goodness of fit test were performed on SPSS for windows, version 24.0.

Results/Findings. Participants perceived occupations performed with other people to be more meaningful than those performed alone. Also, participants had a more positive mood when performing occupations with other people rather than alone. Occupations connecting one with other people elicited the most positive mood, followed by those that were perceived as fun, and physically stimulating. Occupations connecting one with other people were perceived to be the most meaningful, followed by those that were physically, and mentally stimulating. Positive mood was a significant predictor for the meaning associated with occupations. Finally, there was a relationship between the grouping and the types of occupations performed. Overall, participants tended to participate most frequently in obligatory type occupations. However those from South Africa tended to participate more in mentally stimulating occupations, and those that connected them with other people; while South Dakota participants tended to perform more obligatory and unspecified type occupations.

Conclusions. While occupations connecting a person with other people and those that were physically stimulating were perceived to be meaningful and at the same time they elicited positive mood, fun was a specific characteristic of occupations that were associated with positive mood. Further, performing occupations with other people enhanced the meaning of the occupations and elicited positive mood. There were significant differences between South Dakota and South African samples in regard to types of occupations performed, but all participants tended to participate in obligatory type occupations most frequently.

Key words: occupation, meaning, psychological rewards, cultural differences

References

Aguilar, A., Boerema, C., & Harrison, J. (2010). Meanings attributed by older adults to computer use. Journal of Occupational Science, 17(1), 27–33. DOI:10.1080/14427591.2010.9686669

Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., Aaker, J. L., & Garbinsky, E. N. (2013). Some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life. The Journal of Positive Psychology: Dedicated to Furthering Research and Promoting Good Practice, 8, 506-516. DOI:10.1080/17439760.2013.830764

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Intrinsic motivation and effective teaching: A flow analysis. In J. J. Bass (Ed.), Teaching well and liking it: Motivating faculty to teach effectively (pp. 72–89). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Ikiugu, M. N., Hoyme, A. K., Mueller, B., & Reinke, R. R. (2015). Difference between meaningful and psychologically rewarding occupations: Findings from two pilot studies [Online Version]. Journal of Occupational Science. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2015.1085431

Ikiugu, M. N., & Pollard, N. (2015). Meaningful living across the lifespan: Occupation-based intervention strategies for occupational therapists and scientists. London, UK: Whiting & Birch.

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Oct 21st, 2:30 PM Oct 21st, 3:30 PM

Differences between Meaningful and Psychologically Rewarding Occupations: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

Studio 1

Purpose of the Study. To investigate whether: 1) there were differences between psychologically rewarding and meaningful occupations; 2) there were differences between South Dakota and South African research participants regarding perceptions of meaningful and psychologically rewarding occupations; and 3) psychological rewards contributed to the perceived meaningfulness of occupations.

Methods. Fifty two individuals participated in the study (twenty from four public Universities in South Dakota, United States, and 32 from a University in Cape Town, South Africa). Participants were randomly cued on the phone 5 times/day, Monday through Sunday. Each time when cued, they documented what they were doing, with whom, and the type of occupation in which they were engaged. They responded to two questionnaires inquiring about their mood and perceived meaning of the occupation in their lives. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), analysis of variance (ANOVA), t-test, and Chi-Square goodness of fit test were performed on SPSS for windows, version 24.0.

Results/Findings. Participants perceived occupations performed with other people to be more meaningful than those performed alone. Also, participants had a more positive mood when performing occupations with other people rather than alone. Occupations connecting one with other people elicited the most positive mood, followed by those that were perceived as fun, and physically stimulating. Occupations connecting one with other people were perceived to be the most meaningful, followed by those that were physically, and mentally stimulating. Positive mood was a significant predictor for the meaning associated with occupations. Finally, there was a relationship between the grouping and the types of occupations performed. Overall, participants tended to participate most frequently in obligatory type occupations. However those from South Africa tended to participate more in mentally stimulating occupations, and those that connected them with other people; while South Dakota participants tended to perform more obligatory and unspecified type occupations.

Conclusions. While occupations connecting a person with other people and those that were physically stimulating were perceived to be meaningful and at the same time they elicited positive mood, fun was a specific characteristic of occupations that were associated with positive mood. Further, performing occupations with other people enhanced the meaning of the occupations and elicited positive mood. There were significant differences between South Dakota and South African samples in regard to types of occupations performed, but all participants tended to participate in obligatory type occupations most frequently.

Key words: occupation, meaning, psychological rewards, cultural differences