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Measuring social inclusion: a staff survey of mental health service users' participation in community occupations

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Mental health service users frequently experience social exclusion and limited occupational engagement. A survey was conducted to gather staff reports of 199 service users' levels of engagement and social inclusion across eight domains of community occupation.

The staff reported that the majority of service users (54%) engaged in two or fewer of the community occupation domains over a 7-day period, the most common being the use of local facilities (92%) and contact with family and friends (61%). The staff reports suggested that far fewer service users were engaged in the other domains: day centres (25%), education (14%), sport (13%), arts (12%), employment (11%) and faith (8%). With regard to social inclusion, activities occurred most frequently in mainstream settings for the domains of faith (100%), use of local facilities (98%), sport (80%), and family and friends (79%). Lower levels of social inclusion were reported for the other domains. Statistical analysis revealed that service users' occupational engagement related to their accommodation type, age and gender, but not to ethnicity.

These findings indicate that further research is needed to explore service users' views on social inclusion and what they feel would support them to engage in community occupations at a level that suits their individual needs.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4276/030802209X12601857794691

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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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