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Factors Enabling and Hindering Participation in Leisure for People with Mental Health Problems

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Although leisure is recognised as a key aspect of occupational therapy, few studies have explored it in relation to people with enduring mental health problems. Using a qualitative design, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 participants with mental health problems living in the community, randomly selected from clients referred to a local assertive outreach service in South-East England. Initially, the data were analysed for content and the phrases, language and words used; subsequently, emerging themes were identified, which were confirmed by a second occupational therapist.

The three themes arising from the data reported here were the number and range of occupations engaged in, the factors enabling participation in leisure and the factors hindering participation in leisure. The range of leisure occupations was similar to that noted in the literature. The main enabling factor was having an adequate network of people to provide support, while the main hindering factors were physical limitations, lack of finances and lack of transport. In the absence of paid employment, leisure was important to the clients. Occupational therapists need to recognise that enhancing the factors enabling participation in leisure and assisting clients to overcome the factors hindering participation in leisure will lead to the increased wellbeing of people with enduring mental health problems.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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