Crafting the Self: Older Persons' Narratives of Occupational Identity

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to examine how engagement in creative occupations informed six older retired people's occupational identities.

METHOD

Occupational narratives were gathered from in-depth interviews with 6 participants (75 years of age or older) who had extended experience of participation in creative occupations. A process of narrative-type inquiry produced summarized, chronological stories for each participant. Subsequently, a process of paradigmatic-type narrative analysis produced thematic categories related to how a sense of self is associated with creative occupational engagement in later life.

RESULTS

Four themes derived from data analysis included the relevance of relational practices, changing self-awareness, enduring qualities, and reflective processes to the formation of a sense of self.

CONCLUSION

This study adds to an understanding of how leisure occupations maintained across the life cycle contribute to building an occupational identity.

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