Experience of meaning in everyday occupations among unemployed people with severe mental illness.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Abstract The aim of this qualitative study was to examine the different facets of meaning that people who are severely mentally ill and unemployed may find in their everyday occupations. Twelve unemployed people with severe mental illness, six who attended day centres and six who did not, were interviewed regarding their experience of meaning in everyday occupations. The data were analysed with content analysis. The results showed that meaning was experienced when feeling competent and having a balance between different meaningful occupations that helped the informants control their mental illness. Themes of meaning were: being socially engaged, feeling competent and accepted by society, creating routines and being productive, being creative and seeking knowledge, and taking care of body and mind. Substitutes for paid work were found in occupations such as taking care of the household or being productive at a day centre. The results suggest that people with severe mental illness should be encouraged to play an active role in their rehabilitation process, and receive support from the occupational therapist in addressing aspects such as forming a social network and daily routines, and finding a balance between work-like occupations and rest.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Occupational Therapy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-58
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Occupational Therapy (Closed 2012) (013025000)

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