Importance: Bangladesh hosts a large number of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Living in refugee camps, the Rohingya refugees face challenges in everyday occupations because of violence, limited opportunities, and corporal punishment by the community.
Objective: To explore how Rohingya refugees experience participation in everyday occupations while living in temporary refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Design: Phenomenological study to describe, understand, and interpret the meanings of life experiences in particularly adverse conditions.
Setting: Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Participants: Fifteen purposively selected participants from the camps.
Outcomes and Measures: In-depth semistructured interview, as well as participant and environmental observations. Researchers used line-by-line data analysis to capture quotations and patterns using interpretive phenomenological analysis, which included establishment of initial codes, interpretation, determining selected codes, and categorization.
Results: The research identified four major themes—(1) mental stress, sleep disturbances, and daily occupations; (2) adjustment to inconsistent daily activities; (3) complex relationships and limited social roles that decreased occupational engagement; and (4) involvement in precarious occupations that exacerbated severe health risks—and four subthemes—(1) fragmented family relationships, (2) formation of new relationships to perform social roles, (3) inconvenient and inaccessible living conditions, and (4) continuation of unlawful work to survive.
Conclusions and Relevance: Rohingya refugees should receive comprehensive health and rehabilitative care because of their perilous mental health conditions, precarious occupations, and lack of trustworthy relationships with family and neighbors.
What This Article Adds: Rohingya refugees experience imbalanced, deprived, and maladapted occupations in refugee camps. Suggestions to improve their lived experience with further peer support programs may help them participate in occupation-based rehabilitation services to facilitate their social integration.