Occupational balance is a prominent concept in occupational therapy and in society at large, and could be a key concept in that it may enhance understanding of the link between occupation and health. Because there is a lack of empirical evidence, the aim of this study was to critically examine the existing assumptions regarding occupational balance. An open narrative approach was applied to include the life context of the participants and to deliberately exclude predefinitions of the concept. From 10 reconstructed life stories, which were analyzed individually, three new dimensions of occupational balance related to health and grounded in the data were developed: a balance between challenging versus relaxing occupations and activities, activities meaningful for the individual and activities meaningful in a sociocultural context, and activities intended to care for oneself and activities intended to care for others. These three dimensions of occupational balance may be key concepts for future research.
Stamm, T., Lovelock, L., Stew, G., Nell, V., Smolen, J., Jonsson, H., Sadlo, G., & Machold, K. (2009). I have a disease but I am not ill: a narrative study of occupational balance in people with rheumatoid arthritis. OTJR: Occupation, participation and health, 29(1), 32-39. https://doi.org/10.3928/15394492-20090101-05