Exploring constraints to leisure participation within the countryside

Liz Harris, Jamie Liddell, Tania Wiseman

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The health and well-being benefits of accessing occupations in natural outdoor environments are well evidenced. However, not everyone has access to these spaces and constraints to leisure participation within rural spaces have been relatively unexplored. This study explored the everyday lives of participants of the Mass Observation Project archive to identify constraints to occupational participation within the countryside in the United Kingdom. Thematic analysis was used to interpret data from two collections; one that focused on ‘The Countryside’ (Winter 2013) and another on ‘Identity and Environment’ within ‘Loneliness and Belonging’ (Spring 2019). The study found that social norms, infrastructure, health issues, personal preferences, and a lack of shared experiences all affected participation in occupations. These constraints often corresponded with a disengagement from desired occupational participation. Findings have implications for occupational science in relation to understanding constraints to meaningful participation. There is need for further research around the impact of belonging and meaning on occupational participation and engagement within rural spaces within diverse population groups, particularly in terms of age, socioeconomic resources, and ethnicity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Occupational Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 May 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • Occupational science; countryside; leisure constraints
  • occupational participation


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