Navigating towards well-being through engagement in valued activities

Presentation First Author: 
Shalini Lal

Introduction: Limited attention has been placed on examining the relations between activity engagement, well-being, and recovery for youth with mental illness particularly in relation to the underlying processes through which activity engagement contributes to well-being. Objectives: We examined the role of valued activity engagement in relation to well-being based on the narrative accounts of youth diagnosed and treated for a first episode of psychosis within the past three years. Methods: Using a qualitative approach, we conducted semi-structured interviews and photo-elicited focus groups with 17 youth, between the ages of 18-24 (SD: 1.9), recruited from an early intervention program for psychoses and a mental health program specializing in the delivery of psychiatric services to street youth. Analysis combined the methods of constructivist grounded theory and narrative inquiry. Results: The findings illustrated six well-being enhancing experiences participants commonly derived from highly valued activities: making meaning; expressing thoughts and emotions; changing physical, emotional, and cognitive states; cultivating skills, strengths, and virtues; connecting with others; and making a contribution. Conclusions: This study produced a framework for conceptualizing how valued activities contribute to well-being from the perspectives of youth recently diagnosed with psychosis. The findings highlight how young people with first episode psychosis navigate towards well-being through valued activity engagement and the importance of supporting them in this process.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Michael Ungar - Ashok Malla - Carl Leggo - Jim Frankish - Melinda Suto
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