Date of Defense

12-6-2017

Date of Graduation

12-2017

Department

Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Maureen Mickus

Second Advisor

Carla Chase

Abstract

This paper will explore the concept of a community-based organization, known as a Men’s Shed. The purpose of the research is to determine the positive impacts the North Belfast Men’s Shed has on social participation and overall health outcomes. The key factors observed in this study were the safe environment, camaraderie, social acceptance, and variety of activities the shed offers. The study included a sample of 11 men primarily over the age of 60. At the time of the study, all of the men were retired or unemployed and came from diverse occupational backgrounds. A set of semi-structure questions was used during the interviews to gather information regarding reasons for joining, specific activities, feelings of connectedness, relationships with other members, and impact of shed participation on health outcomes. A thematic analysis was used to break the interviews down into common themes and patterns among the participants. This analysis led to five categories: socialization, motivation related to self-care, self-worth and purpose, companionship, and enjoyment. All of the men in this study reported some positive benefit as a result of attending the Men’s Shed in each of the five categories. This study’s results displayed similar findings to other studies on this organization. As an understudied concept in the United States, more research needs to be conducted to provide further knowledge of the community-based model. Loneliness and depression are conditions that many older adults face, which is where this organization could be of assistance. Implications to occupational therapy practice include: provide a safe space for older adults to engage in meaningful occupations, find a common ground to make the therapy experience enjoyable and effective, and present an open line of communication to address health issues.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Thesis Presentation.pdf (718 kB)
Defense Presentation

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