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Research Article  |   April 1994
Volition as Narrative: Understanding Motivation in Chronic Illness
Author Affiliations
  • Christine Helfrich, MS, OTR/L, is Research Specialist in Behavioral Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy, and a doctoral student, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60612
  • Gary Kielhofner, DrPH, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Head, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Associated Health Professions and Professor, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • Cheryl Mattingly, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Associated Health Professions, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Article Information
Mental Health / Research
Research Article   |   April 1994
Volition as Narrative: Understanding Motivation in Chronic Illness
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 1994, Vol. 48, 311-317. doi:10.5014/ajot.48.4.311
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 1994, Vol. 48, 311-317. doi:10.5014/ajot.48.4.311
Abstract

This paper expands the current concept of volition in the Model of Human Occupation. The present version views personal causation, values, and interests as traits that determine choices to engage in occupations. Through a detailed investigation of the life histories of two persons with psychiatric disorders, this paper illustrates how volition is embedded in a personal narrative. Two features of narratively organized volition are highlighted: (a) how narrative places decisions and actions within a plot, thus giving them meaning in the context of a whole life, and (b) how the personal narrative motivates the person by serving as a context for choosing and action. Thus, the paper illustrates how persons seek to narrate their lives and live their life narratives.