The experience of engaging in occupation following stroke: a qualitative meta-synthesis

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Introduction: A meta-synthesis is a means of extracting data from multiple qualitative studies about the same topic, re-analysing the findings and bringing them together as a collective whole. Data from six qualitative studies that investigated the experience of engaging in occupation following a stroke were extracted and reanalysed with the purpose of gaining a greater understanding of the subjective experience to inform occupational therapy practice.

Methods: Six databases were systematically searched for literature published in English during 1990–2011. Seven studies were appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool; six of these were included in the meta-synthesis.

Findings: Five conceptual themes regarding occupational engagement emerged from the review: an emotional response, impact on identity, role of significant others, community access and the process of occupational adaptation.

Conclusion: Engagement in occupation following a stroke is linked to self-identity and an emotional response; both of these, in turn, have an impact on capacity for occupational adaptation. Individuals are situated within a context of significant others and community. These findings give occupational therapists greater insight into the experience of older people following stroke in community settings.


Document Type: Review Article


Publication date: August 1, 2013

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

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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