Continuing Education and Research: Occupational Science Project Group - Occupational Nature of Humans

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Introduction

This web page invites you to study the occupational nature of humans. The site starts with questions to trigger your interest, followed with references and suggested learning activities.

Trigger questions

  • Do human beings have an occupational nature?
  • Why do people do what they do?
  • What is the link between occupation and well being / health?

Objectives

  • To understand occupation as an outcome of the interaction between the person, what they are doing, and the environment they are doing it in.
  • To understand the human's biological need for occupation.
  • To explore the symbolic dimensions of occupations.
  • To describe the various forms of occupation: maintenance occupations, play occupations, recreational occupations and work occupations.
  • To recognise the importance and significance of occupations for the individual seen in perspectives of age, gender, society and culture.
  • To recognise human social, cultural and environmental prerequisites for occupation.

Learning activities

  • Give examples of how everyday occupations meet humans' biological, psychological, social and aesthetic needs. Suggestion »
  • Give examples of how the meaning in a specific occupation might vary due to e.g. culture, class, gender, or age. Suggestion »
  • What kind of symbolic meaning does occur in different activities? Suggestion »
  • Choose a child, an adult, and an elderly person in your environment. In what way do their everyday patterns of occupations differ, and why? Suggestion »
  • In what ways might occupations be classified into different categories and why? Suggestion »
  • Describe your most important and meaningful occupation and explain why it is so. Suggestion »
  • Write an occupational diary for a working day and holiday and compare the two. How do your occupations differ? Consider the reasons for these differences and their relevance and impact on you. Suggestion »
  • Describe how your occupational repertoire has changed through your life span. In what ways do you think it might change in the future, and how would you like to be? Suggestion »
  • Compare an occupation in another culture with the way in which you perform that occupation. Suggestion »
  • Reflect on an occupation you have recently performed: Reflect on; what you thought about; what you felt and if you became aware of anything? Suggestion »
  • Choose an occupation and use Nelson's concepts of occupational form and performance. Describe the differences between your occupational performance and the occupational form. Suggestion »

References

1. Carlson, M; Clark, F and Young, B. (1998). Practical contributions of occupational science to the art of successful ageing: how to sculpt a meaningful life in older adulthood. Journal of Occupational Science: Australia, 5 (30), 107-118.

2. Crist, P.H., Davis, C.G. and Coffin, P.S. (2000) The effects of employment and mental health status on the balance of work, play/leisure, self-care and rest, Occupational therapy in mental health, 15 (1) 27-42

3. Christiansen, C.H and Baum, C.M. (1997), Occupational therapy: enabling function and well-being, (2nd ed), Thorofare, Slack Incorporated

4. Dermody, J.L., Volkens, P.P. and Heater, S.L. (1996) Occupational therapy students' perspective on occupation as an agent that promotes healthful lifestyles, American journal of occupational therapy, 50 (10) 835-841

5. Golledge, J. (1998) Distinguishing between occupation, purposeful activity and activity, part 1: review and explanation, British journal occupational therapy, 61 (3) 100-105

6. Hasselkus BR (2002) The meaning of everyday occupation. USA: Slack inc.

7. Kamwendo, K. (2000) Adherence to healthy lifestyles, Scandinavian journal of occupational therapy, 7 156-164

8. Kleiber, D., Larson, R. and Chikzentmihalyi, M. (1986) The experience of leisure in adolescence, Journal of leisure research, 18 (3) 169-176

9. Larson, K.B. (1990) Activity patterns and life changes in people with depression, American journal of occupational therapy, 44, 10, 902-906

10. Law, M., Steinwender, S., and Leclair, L. (1998) Occupation, health and well-being, Canadian journal of occupational therapy, 65 (2) 81-91

11. Lo, J. and Huang, S. (2000) Affective experiences during daily occupations: measurement and results, Occupational therapy international, 7 (2) 134-144

12. Lo, J. and Zemke, R. (1997) The relationship between affective experiences during daily occupations and subjective well-being measures: a pilot study, Occupational therapy in mental health, 13 (3) 1-21

13. Nelson, DL (1988) Occupation: Form and Performance, American journal of occupational therapy, 42, 633-641

14. Nelson DL. (1994) Occupational form, occupational performance, and therapeutic occupation in CB Royeen (ed) The practice of the future: Putting occupation back into therapy (pp 9-48) Rockville, MD: AOTA inc.

15. Townsend, E. (1997). Occupation: Potential for Personal and Social Transformation. Journal of Occupational Science: Australia 4 (1), 18-26.

16. Westhorp, G. (1995). To Do, but What To Do? The Occupation of Occupational Science. Journal of Occupational Science: Australia, 2 (3), 128-133.

17. Whiteford, G; Townsend, E & Hocking, C. (2000). Reflections on a renaissance of occupation. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67 (1), 61-69.

18. Wilcock, A. (1991). Occupational Science. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 54 (80), 297-300.

19. Wilcock, A. (1993). A Theory of the human need for occupation. Journal of Occupational Science: Australia, 1 (1), 17-24.

20. Wilcock, A. (1993) Keynote paper: biological and sociocultural aspect of occupation, health and health promotion, British journal occupational therapy, 56 (6) 200-203

21. Wilcock, A. (1999) Reflections on doing, being and becoming, Australian occupational therapy journal, 46, 1-11

22. Wilcock, A. (2001) Occupational science: the key to broadening horizons, British journal of occupational therapy, 614(8) 412-417

23. Wilcock, A., Van der Arend, H., Darling, K., Scholz, J., Siddall, R., Snigg, C. and Stephens, J. (1998) An exploratory study of people's perceptions and experiences of wellbeing, British journal of occupational therapy, 61 (2) 75-82

24. Yerxa, E.J. (1995) Who is the keeper of occupational therapists practice and knowledge, American journal of occupational therapy, 49, (4), 295-99

25. Yerxa, E.J. (1998) Health and the human spirit for occupation, British journal of occupational therapy, 52 (6) 412-418

26. Larson, E & Zemke, R (2003) Shaping the temporal patterns of our lives: The social coordination of occupation. Journal of Occupational Science Vol 10(2) 80-89.