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Research Article  |   July 2004
Crafting the Self: Older Persons’ Narratives of Occupational Identity
Author Affiliations
  • Linsey Howie, PhD, MA, DipOT, AccOT, is Head, School of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, 3086, Australia; l.howie@latrobe.edu.au
  • Michelle Coulter, BOT (Hon), is Occupational Therapist, Vision Australia Foundation, Victoria, Australia
  • Susan Feldman, MA, is Director, Alma Unit for Research on Ageing (AURA), Centre for Ageing, Rehabilitation Exercise & Sport, Faculty of Human Development, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Occupations of Older Adults
Research Article   |   July 2004
Crafting the Self: Older Persons’ Narratives of Occupational Identity
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2004, Vol. 58, 446-454. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.4.446
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2004, Vol. 58, 446-454. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.4.446
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This study aimed to examine how engagement in creative occupations informed six older retired people’s occupational identities.

METHOD. Occupational narratives were gathered from in-depth interviews with 6 participants (75 years of age or older) who had extended experience of participation in creative occupations. A process of narrative-type inquiry produced summarized, chronological stories for each participant. Subsequently, a process of paradigmatic-type narrative analysis produced thematic categories related to how a sense of self is associated with creative occupational engagement in later life.

RESULTS. Four themes derived from data analysis included the relevance of relational practices, changing self-awareness, enduring qualities, and reflective processes to the formation of a sense of self.

CONCLUSION. This study adds to an understanding of how leisure occupations maintained across the life cycle contribute to building an occupational identity.