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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experience of activities and their meaning for people who live with schizophrenia : a phenemenological investigation Casey, Regina


BACKGROUND: This study aims to answer the call to advance knowledge within the occupational therapy and occupational science literature to explore the experience and meaning of occupation/activity participation from both ontic and ontological perspectives. OBJECTIVE: This phenomenological inquiry sought to understand the meaning of activity participation for 10 adults who live with schizophrenia on the west coast of Canada METHODS: Rich descriptions of people’s lives were collected by means of multiple in-depth interviews over a period of two years. The analysis process was guided by the hermeneutic writings of Husserl (1859-1939), Heidegger (1962), and Gadamer (2004), and drew on occupational science and occupational therapy concepts such as doing, being, belonging and becoming (Rebeiro, Day, Semeniuk, O’ Brien & Wilson, 2001; Hammell, 2004; Wilcock, 1998). Analysis involved writing, reflecting and re-writing the findings such that themes and aspects of meaning showed themselves over time. RESULTS: Three interrelated themes that show aspects of meaning are presented. They include: (1) activities of citizenship, recognition and skill development for social inclusion, (2) activities for health and well-being and for justice, and (3) activities that resonate with the call to be “more fully human.” Findings provide understanding of the ways in which others can influence the experience and meaning of activity participation. Study findings also provide a hopeful discourse regarding participants’ engagement in productive activities. CONCLUSION: This study adds to the literature as it analyses the range of activity participation over a two year period for participants. It is unique in that it is the first study within the field of occupational therapy and occupational science to inquire about the meaning of activities related to citizenship with and for people who live with schizophrenia. The conclusions are that: (1) activity participation is a source of hope and is influenced by notions of inclusion and justice, (2) all activity has meaning, positive and/or negative and (3) meaning in activity is connected to, and has implications for, meaning in life and well-being. This work opens space for further dialogue and research on the topic.

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