Occupational science and occupational therapy

Occupational science is the study of humans as occupational beings. People have an innate desire to occupy themselves and occupations that are sustained over a period of time, hold meaning to individuals which are personal and idiosyncratic. Occupation is not viewed in the lay sense of the term as a job of work, but as the things we chose to do in our daily lives that have meaning to us. We know that what people do has an influence on their health and wellbeing, so the occupational science research group aims to explore this link. Occupational science is informed by many disciplines interested in what people do, for example, occupational therapists, health professionals, human geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, and educators. A better understanding of why and how people chose and sustain their engagement in their daily occupations will inform and influence health promotion of individuals, communities and populations. Occupational science is the cognate discipline that guides occupational therapists in their therapeutic use of occupation.

Staff and PhD students research interests

We have an active and enthusiastic staff group who are engaged in a wide range of current research projects with an occupational science and/or occupational therapy focus. In line with occupational science we aspire to be being more interdisciplinary in our research. Members of the group regularly present at international, national and local conferences including:

  • World Federation of Occupational Therapists
  • Council of Occupational Therapists in European Countries
  • European Network of Occupational Therapists in Higher Education
  • College of Occupational Therapists
  • South West BAOT Occupational therapy regional study day
  • Northern & Yorkshire Unison/BAOT Occupational therapy regional study day
  • European Conference in Religion & Health
For further information on staff publications and presentations, visit the individuals personal and professional profiles, to the left. You can also find us on Facebook.

As well as developing a theory of the dark side of occupation (Rebecca Twinley) the occupational science and occupational therapy cluster is engaged in the following research (* denotes PhD student)

Meaning, occupation and well-being Lead: Dr Anne Roberts
Gardening for health and well-being (Dr Anne Roberts)
Meaning and occupation (Dr Anne Roberts)
Religious practice as a valued occupation (Pat Eyres) 1
Outdoor adventure activity (Rosi Raine) 1

Mental health and well-being Lead: Dr Katrina Bannigan
Participation (Dr Katrina Bannigan)
Psychosis and mental health (Joanne Inman) 1

Occupational therapy on the margins Lead: Dr Anita Slade
Homelessness (Miranda Cunningham) (Leonie Boland) 1
Role emerging / innovative placement models (Dr Alison Warren)
Woman to woman rape and sexual assault (Rebecca Twinley) 1

Older people Lead: Dr Alison Warren
Dementia (Emma Kirk) 1
Slovenian older people`s transition into a care home (Tanja Krizaj)
The lived experience of older gay people (Rebecca Twinley)
Dementia (Dr Alison Warren)

The IHC Plymouth Case Study Research Project Lead: Dr Katrina Bannigan

Methodological Expertise
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Rasch Analysis and psychometrics in evaluating health and educational outcomes
Systematic reviewing (inc. scoping studies and qualitative systematic reviews)

Our researchers