Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Vitality

4.3: Individuals in Transition: Research Paper Presentations

Hans Jonsson, Kristina Nielsen, Karen la Cour, Jeanette Christensen, Marc Pilegaard, Cecilie von Bülow, Åse Brandt, Hannes Peoples, Eva Wæhrens

Lessons Learned About Occupation-Focused And Occupation-Based Interventions: A Synthesis Using Group Concept Mapping Methodology

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There is a policy shift in many European countries towards health promotion and primary prevention in health care (i.e Health Promotion and Primary Prevention in 14 European Countries from JA-CHRODIS: EU Joint Action on Chronic Diseases and Healthy Aging Across the Life Cycle). Occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions could play an important role, providing opportunities for participation and engagement in valued occupations.

Several intervention programs have been conducted in European contexts, building on basic principles from occupational science and occupational therapy.
However there is a need to synthesise some of the existing knowledge and experiences to provide a solid base for designing future occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions. The aim of this study was to identify, organize and prioritize experiences with employing occupation as a core element in intervention studies.

Nine researchers and PhD-students from the Research Initiative for Activity Studies and Occupational Therapy at the University of Southern Denmark conducted the study.  Group Concept Mapping, a mixed-method approach was applied. The method includes a structured process in six steps; 1) brainstorm, 2) sorting and labelling, 3) rating importance, 4) generating a cluster rating map, 5) validation and 6) developing a conceptual model.

The findings are synthesized and presented as a conceptual model providing information on specific knowledge and experiences to consider and include in future occupation-centred intervention studies.

In short we found the following common elements of the interventions:

  • The core element is doing as an agent of change,
  • For sustainable changes a multi-level perspective is needed,
  • Flexibility and openness to adjustments is a key element,
  • Group- and peer-support can work as amplifier,
  • Evaluations need to address the level of occupation,
  • An occupation centred intervention can be grouped within complex interventions and need a combination of methodological approaches

The results provide recommendations when planning, designing and conducting intervention studies involving occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions. The results will be further presented and discussed at the conference.
(A paper based on this study is published online 2019 in Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy).


  1. How does your experiences of occupation based and focused interventions relates to the findings in this study?

  2. What occupation focused tools for evaluation of interventions do you know and how can they be used in looking at intervention outcome?

  3. How does an occupation centered intervention relate to the needs of developing multidisciplinary types of interventions?

• Johansson, E., Jonsson, H., Dahlberg, R. & Patomella. A-H. (2018). The efficacy of a multifactorial falls-prevention program, implemented in Primary Health Care: A Pilot Study. British Journal of Occupational Therapy 81 (8), 474-481.

• Loh SY, Jonsson H (2016) Cancer Survivorship Care: A perspective from an Occupational-Participation Approach. Journal of Cancer Science Therapy 8: 179-184.

• Johansson, E., Jonsson, H., Dahlberg, R. & Patomella. A-H. (2015). Does a falls prevention program impact on perceived participation in everyday occupations? – A pilot randomized controlled trial. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 35 (4), 204-212.

• Wagman, P., Håkansson, C., Jonsson, H. (2015). Occupational Balance – Current Research and Identified Knowledge Gaps: A Scoping Study. Journal of Occupational Science, 22 (2), 160-169.

• Njelesani, J., Tang, A., Jonsson, H., & Polatajko, H. (2014). Occupational Terminology: An Occupational Perspective. Journal of Occupational Science, 21 (2), 226-235.

Published by  Faculty of Health 1 July 2019