Abstract

Associations between occupational factors and characteristics of the social network in people with persistent mental illness were investigated. Participant groups (N = 103) representing three types of daily occupations— working or studying, visiting community-based activity centers, and having no regular daily occupation—were selected for the study. Participants were assessed regarding social interaction and on the occupational factors of time spent in productive occupations, activity level, satisfaction with daily occupations, and perceived occupational value. The groups based on daily occupation did not differ in social interaction. Associations were found mainly between the subjective estimations of occupation—satisfaction and perceived value—and characteristics of the social network. In conclusion, experiential aspects of occupation were more closely related to social interaction than actual circumstances, such as type of daily occupation or time spent in productive occupations. The results suggest that occupational therapists should focus their attention on the patient’s participation in a supportive social network because it may be related to valued and satisfying occupations.

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