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Levelling the playing field: Exploring inequalities and exclusions with a community‐based football league for people with experience of mental distress

Pettican, Anna and Speed, Ewen and Bryant, Wendy and Kilbride, Cherry and Beresford, Peter (2022) 'Levelling the playing field: Exploring inequalities and exclusions with a community‐based football league for people with experience of mental distress.' Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 69 (3). pp. 290-300. ISSN 0045-0766

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Abstract

Introduction Sport workforce strategy in the United Kingdom (UK) has identified the occupational therapy profession as being ideally positioned to contribute to public health agendas relating to tackling physical inactivity amongst marginalised populations, such as disabled people and people with experience of mental distress. However, a robust understanding of the enablers, restrictions, and exclusions such groups encounter when seeking to participate in sport and physical activity is currently lacking. Methods This study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of the different ways people with experience of mental distress talked about their participation in a community-based football league in England, in the UK. Nine people took part in this strand of a larger participatory action research (PAR) study, which used go-along interviews as the method of data collection. In alignment with PAR seeking to address power imbalances, the data from the go-along interviews were analysed through a Foucauldian lens using a collaboratively produced analytic framework. Findings Participants constructed the community-based football league as fostering feelings of purpose and belonging, against a backdrop of them describing experiencing stigma and exclusion when seeking to be active in their wider communities. They used the concept of occupational marginalisation to further interpret their situation. Conclusion Understanding why and how people participate in football extends beyond seeing it as an individual exercise to shared social lives and occupations. With this perspective, occupational therapists could address occupational marginalisation in partnership with community sports organisations, collaborating for wider social change beyond specialist services.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: football; health inequalities; mental distress; occupational marginalisation; occupational therapy; participatory action research; physical (in)activity; sport
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2022 11:20
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 12:49
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/32120

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