“Just one of the guys” An application of the Occupational Wellbeing framework to graduates of a Men’s Shed Program for young unemployed adult males with intellectual disability
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Introduction: Conceptualisation of occupation requires understanding of subjective wellbeing and experiences of occupation. Opportunities for participation in productivity activities, such as employment, may be limited for people with intellectual disability (ID). An occupational wellbeing framework was recently re-imagined to focus on the subjective meaning of a person's occupational life rather than occupational performance. This study analysed experiences and possible benefits to occupational wellbeing of young adult men with ID in an intergenerational mentoring program based on Australian Men's Sheds using this revised occupational wellbeing framework. Methods: A qualitative approach was used to gather individual semi-structured interviews at the end of an intergenerational mentoring program to explore occupational wellbeing experiences. Eight individual mentees and five parents of mentees (n = 13) from the different Men's Sheds sites agreed to participate in an individual interview about their experiences of the program. All mentees were male aged between 17 and 24 years. Family members included four female mothers and one male father. Data were highlighted, selected and deductively coded using content analysis according to the five occupational wellbeing domains of the framework. Results: Mentees reflected upon their experience with their mentor, the program, activities and environment of the Men's Shed. Findings were organised in relation to each of the five domains of occupational wellbeing, including contentment, competence, belonging, identity and autonomy. Experiences of mentees and their family members reflected the positive impact of participation on each domain and occupational wellbeing, including opportunities for socialisation outside of the program, mastery of skills and knowledge and validation of belief in self. Conclusion: Mentees involved in an intergenerational mentoring program in Australian Men's Sheds report benefits of participation in activities that foster and increase occupational wellbeing experiences. The experience of such domains should be considered when attempting to understand the quality of life and function for people with disabilities.
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