Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This qualitative study examined the experience of occupational engagement in low-income Latina breast cancer survivors and suggests the potential for occupational therapy practitioners to improve health outcomes in this vulnerable and underserved population.

METHOD. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 9 participants. Inductive analysis was used to code for themes and patterns related to occupational engagement and quality of life (QOL).

RESULTS. Lack of occupational engagement negatively affected QOL, but participation in occupations such as religious activity and caregiving promoted well-being. Financial concerns and communication barriers decreased QOL.

CONCLUSION. Breast cancer can have a negative impact on occupational engagement in low-income Latina breast cancer survivors; however, some occupations may increase QOL. Socioeconomic status and cultural values influence occupational engagement and QOL. Occupational therapy practitioners can improve health outcomes in this population through awareness of relevant sociocultural factors and attention to appropriate patient communication.

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