Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Lynn Shaw


Within health literature, occupation is understood as employment whereas in occupational science the concept of occupation encompasses all the things that people want or need to do. The objective of this pragmatic-oriented, qualitative study was to elicit the perspectives of occupational scientists on occupation as a determinant of health or concept that shapes health and well-being and secondly, to identify questions from an occupational lens to address health inequities in health assessments and interventions. Purposive sampling was used to recruit occupational science experts and data were collected through focus groups. Eight occupational scientists participated. A thematic analysis of data was conducted and a visual concept map was constructed to identify relationships between themes. Findings were organized into two central themes: (a) differentiating occupation; concepts that define occupation outside of just employment, and (b) connecting occupation to health; concepts that are health promoting, jeopardizing, or depriving. Occupational questions were offered for use alongside health assessments, particularly the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA). A holistic and non-structural occupational perspective may broaden the interdisciplinary knowledge needed to understand complex and hidden sources of health inequities.

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