Perception of occupational balance by people with mental illness: A new methodology

Scand J Occup Ther. 2016 Jul;23(4):304-13. doi: 10.3109/11038128.2016.1143529. Epub 2016 Feb 12.


Aims The aims were to (i) investigate initial construct validity of a tool for assessment of time allocation in occupational balance, and (ii) describe perceived occupational balance and its relationship with socio-demographics, well-being, and personal recovery among people with mental illness. Methods Satisfaction with Daily Occupations and Occupational Balance (SDO-OB) was administered to 226 persons. SDO-OB reflects balance in five occupational domains: work, leisure, home chores, self-care, and overall occupational balance. Indicators for assessing construct validity were: satisfaction with everyday occupations, occupational value, symptom severity, and psychosocial functioning. For the second aim, the data collection included socio-demographics, life quality, self-esteem, self-mastery, and personal recovery. Results Occupational balance ratings indicated the participants were either under-occupied or in balance. Few were over-occupied. Feeling in balance was related to greater well-being and recovery compared with being under-occupied. Risk factors for under-occupation were younger age (in relation to work), and higher education (in relation to overall balance). Conclusions Associations with the indicators suggest initial construct validity. The SDO-OB is promising for assessment of occupational balance among people with mental illness. Being under-occupied was detrimental to well-being and recovery, and this indicates the importance of offering more occupational opportunities for people with mental illness.

Keywords: Day center; gender; outpatients; psychiatry; psychometry; time allocation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Occupations
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Psychometrics
  • Self Care