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Title: 'A lifestyle coat-hanger': A phenomenological study of the meanings of artwork for women coping with chronic illness and disability
Authors: Reynolds, F
Prior, S
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Disability and Rehabilitation. 25 (14) 785-794
Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological enquiry was to explore the meanings and functions of art for a group of women living with disabling chronic illness. Participants were recruited on the basis that they considered artwork as central to their current well-being. Method: Thirty women were interviewed, and five submitted written narratives. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was carried out. Results: About half of the participants had taken up their preferred artistic occupation since the onset of illness. Participants described their artwork as contributing to their health and well-being in many diverse ways. Art filled occupational voids, distracted thoughts away from illness, promoted the experience of flow and spontaneity, enabled the expression of grief, maintained a positive identity, and extended social networks. Its value was conceptualised by one participant as a ‘lifestyle coat-hanger’ organising numerous further roles and activities that gave purpose to life. Art was more than cathartic. It offered a versatile means of overcoming the restrictions imposed by illness on self and lifestyle, in many cases creating a more enriched lifestyle than before. Conclusion: The findings may encourage professionals working in health and rehabilitation settings to assist clients in identifying meaningful, creative occupations that are feasible within the limits imposed by illness or injury.
Appears in Collections:Dept of Clinical Sciences Research Papers

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