Co‐occupation: The challenges of defining concepts original to occupational science
ABSTRACT The term co‐occupation was coined in the early days of occupational science and has begun to accrue a grouping of studies that shed light on its dynamic. Its lasting nature as a concept original to occupational science may be due to the fact that it is grounded in the interdisciplinary play literature, as well as the interests of occupational scientists in the interactive social dimension of occupation, especially those of mothers and children. The essence of co‐occupation is its highly interactive nature. Co‐occupation is a dance between the occupations of one individual and another that sequentially shapes the occupations of both persons. Although many of the experiences of co‐occupation are fairly symmetrical, as in playing tennis, this is not a defining characteristic of co‐occupation. Co‐occupations do not necessarily occur within shared space, time, meaning, affect, or intent. Efforts to define co‐occupation bring to light multiple challenges to defining occupational science concepts: the need to welcome multiple definitions, the special logics that can support the definition of new concepts, the tendency to glorify occupation within definitions, the need to differentiate between ideas and experiences within definitions of occupation and its subtypes, the tendency to overemphasize the social dimension of occupations and underemphasize their spatial and temporal aspects, and the need to build new areas of understanding of the transactional characteristics of occupation without discrediting occupational scientists’ valuing of the individual perspectives of those studied. This special issue of the Journal of Occupational Science is a milestone for occupational science, as this unique type of occupation comes of age as a research focus for diverse researchers.
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ABSTRACT: The prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing and is associated with how families manage their daily occupations. Previous studies suggest that it should be possible to identify patterns of daily occupations that promote health and prevent illness. However, it is unknown how family members' patterns are shared. This study aimed at gaining knowledge about parents' shared patterns of daily occupations. Thirty parents enrolled in a randomized controlled trial involving parents of children aged 4–6 years old with obesity, were included. The study used a mixed methods design. Data from time-geographical diaries describing daily occupations on one ordinary weekday were collected. A sequential exploratory strategy design was used, with qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Four main groups of family types were identified: the togetherness focused family, the child focused family, the individual focused family and the parent-child focused family. These groups' shared patterns of daily occupations differed in terms of divisions of household work, paid work and the amount of time spent together as a family. The results highlight and generate a new understanding of how parents' shared patterns of daily occupations are shaped in families.Journal of Occupational Science 08/2012; 19(3):241-257.