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Research Article  |   January 2009
Meaning of Occupation-Based Groups for Low-Income Urban Youths Attending After-School Care
Author Affiliations
  • Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Program, Department of Health Sciences, Health Sciences Building, Room 120, Cleveland State University, 2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115; s.bazyk@csuohio.edu
  • John Bazyk, MS, OTR/L, is Chairperson, Department of Health Sciences, Cleveland State University
Article Information
Social Justice and Health Disparities
Research Article   |   January 2009
Meaning of Occupation-Based Groups for Low-Income Urban Youths Attending After-School Care
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 69-80. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.69
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 69-80. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.69
Abstract

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the meaning of occupational therapy groups focusing on occupational engagement, group process, and social–emotional learning for a purposeful sample of low-income urban youths attending after-school care. Interviews and participant observation were used to study how the children made sense of their experience. Qualitative data analysis resulted in two thematic descriptions of the experience. First, the groups were fun because of engagement in novel and challenging leisure occupations within a supportive group context. Participation in creative activities that allowed choice transformed mood—children experienced happiness and wanted more of these experiences. Second, the participants valued being able to talk about feelings and learn strategies for dealing with anger. Findings provide a glimpse into the possibilities of enhancing occupational balance by engaging children in occupations they find to be fun.