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Research Article  |   January 2009
Water Quality, Health, and Human Occupations
Author Affiliations
  • Anne B. Blakeney, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University, 521 Lancaster Avenue, Richmond, KY 40475; anne.blakeney@eku.edu
  • Amy Marshall, MS, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Occupational Therapy Practice Framework / Professional Issues / Social Justice and Health Disparities
Research Article   |   January 2009
Water Quality, Health, and Human Occupations
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 46-57. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.46
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 46-57. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.46
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. To introduce evidence of the critical link between water quality and human occupations.

METHOD. A participatory action research design was used to complete a three-phase project. Phase 1 included mapping the watershed of Letcher County, Kentucky. Phase 2 consisted of surveying 122 Letcher County health professionals. Phase 3, the primary focus of this article, consisted of interviews with Letcher County adults regarding their lived experiences with water. The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2002) was used to structure questions. The Model of Occupational Justice provided the theoretical framework for presentation of the results.

RESULTS. The watershed in Letcher County, Kentucky, is polluted as a result of specific coal mining practices and a lack of adequate infrastructure. As a result, citizens experience occupational injustice in the forms of occupational imbalance, occupational deprivation, and occupational alienation.