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Title: “It’s not just about the money”: The meaning of work for people with severe and enduring mental health problems – an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Authors: Blank, Alison
Advisors: Harries, P
Reynolds, F
Keywords: Occupation;Recovery;Identity;Belonging;Phenomenology
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Brunel University School of Health Sciences and Social Care PhD Theses
Abstract: “It’s not just about the money”: the meaning of work for people with severe and enduring mental health problems – an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Aim – to explore the meaning of work for people living with severe and enduring mental health problems. Method - Ten participants were recruited and interviewed initially; eight at six months; four at eighteen months. A longitudinal approach was chosen to facilitate capturing changes in the participants’ life worlds. The method used was interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Findings - Three overarching themes were identified. Building and maintaining an occupational identity expressed the ways in which participants used occupations as the building blocks of an evolving identity; some viewed work as a socially valued way of doing this. Most of the participants had aspirations towards work, and occupation in a broad sense was seen as an essential component of recovery from mental ill health. Work, and other ways of belonging encapsulated the need to feel connected to others. Many of the participants envisaged working as a way of achieving this. Others had experienced work as isolating and excluding, and had found leaving or changing work roles to be liberating. Work values, personal values; the need for accord reflected the attitudes that participants held about the role of work in their lives, and in society. These views reflected ambivalent feelings about working which often seemed to stem from distressing experiences of work. The longitudinal nature of the study facilitated engagement with the developing narratives and exploration of the changes and consistencies in the participants’ meaning making about work. Conclusion - work may contribute to recovery, as can other forms of occupational engagement. Attention to identity building and fostering a sense of belonging is important. Implications relate to the need for service providers to utilise a flexible approach to occupational participation.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Community Health and Public Health
Dept of Clinical Sciences Theses

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