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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337

Abstract

IKIUGU, Moses N; HOYME, Ashley K; MUELLER, Brittany A  and  REINKE, Rochelle R. Meaningful occupation clarified: Thoughts about the relationship between meaningful and psychologically rewarding occupations. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2015, vol.45, n.1, pp.47-50. ISSN 2310-3833.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2310-3833/2015/v45no1a8.

A core assumption in occupational therapy is that participation in meaningful occupations is related to health and a sense of well-being. However, the exact nature of "meaningful occupation" is not clear. Many scholars seem to equate meaningful with psychologically rewarding occupations, whereby "psychologically rewarding" refers to an experience of absorption into the occupation and a positive mood at the time when the person is engaged in the occupation. In this paper, we argue that the two types of occupations are different. Meaningful occupation may not be immediately psychologically rewarding, but a psychologically rewarding occupation is always meaningful to the person performing it. Therapists should consider planning their therapeutic interventions in such a way that they use both types of occupations in order to optimise the benefits of therapy. Research is indicated to clarify the exact differences between the two types of occupations.

Keywords : Meaningful occupation; psychologically rewarding occupation; mood; control; identity; transcendence.

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