Joining, belonging, and re-valuing: a process of meaning-making through group participation in a mental health lifestyle intervention

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Balancing Everyday Life (BEL), a new group-based intervention for mental health service users, was implemented in Sweden. Mental health service users often experience group interventions as meaningful, but knowledge of the process of meaning-making in a group is lacking. Aim: To explore participants’ perceptions of the group in the Balancing Everyday Life (BEL) lifestyle intervention; specifically, personal experiences of what brings meaning when participating in a group. Methods: This qualitative Grounded Theory study included 26 interviews with 19 BEL participants. Results: A process of meaning-making in a group was constructed: Joining with others: from feeling alone to connected, A sense of belonging: mutual support and understanding, and Re-valuing Self: respect and self-worth. No longer feeling alone contributed to meaning. Peers and group leaders were considered important parts of the group, and participants appreciated feeling understood, respected, and helping others. Conclusion: The proposed process of meaning-making, as well as ‘Joining’ as a unique step, seems to be new contributions which could help practitioners when organizing groups. Overcoming fear of joining could break a cycle of isolation and lead to connecting and belonging. The value of participants finding purpose through helping others should be further explored.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Psychiatry


  • grounded theory, group intervention, groups, lifestyle, meaning, mental health, Mental illness, occupational therapy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages13
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number1
Early online date2017 Nov 28
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Kristine Lund, 2019, Lund: Lund University, Faculty of Medicine. 95 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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