The Value of Leisure: Exploring how occupational impediment due to Covid-19 impacts theatre group members’ health and wellbeing.
Executive Summary This report describes a research-based project conducted in partnership with Leitheatre, a local community theatre group (see Appendix A for identification permission). The research intended to investigate the value of leisure occupations, and how occupational impediment due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) could impact group members’ health and wellbeing. The research topic was explored through a literature review. Relevant literature found that leisure occupations, including community groups and theatre, are valuable and have many benefits. Evidence regarding the impact of occupational impediment was found, including a lack of purpose, loneliness and frustration (Laliberte Rudman et al. 2006; Hocking 2012; Douglas et al. 2020). Due to the newness of the Covid-19 phenomenon, limited literature was found regarding the impact of restrictions on health and wellbeing. This evidence base justified this research. A mixed-method questionnaire was chosen to investigate the topic, with survey methodology and relativism underpinning this research. The questionnaire was mixed-mode, and convenience sampling was utilised, resulting in 21 responses. Three key themes were found from the results: Value of Community, Modification of Occupational Components and Additional Identified Impacts. The value of community included key social aspects of Leitheatre, and acknowledged the impact on community from occupational impediment. The modification of occupational components was evidenced in the adaptation from in-person activities to online. The lack of creative outlet and performance aspect were mentioned as debilitating. Furthermore, virtual platforms are not conducive to theatre, with no audience feedback and no opportunity to develop skills such as stage presence. Additional identified impacts of Covid-19 restrictions included emotional, mental and physical effects. Conversely, some participants expressed appreciating ‘the break’ from Leitheatre. 17005495 vii This project was deemed successful in fulfilling the aim of researching the value of leisure and the impact of occupational impediment. Further research could be completed into long term impacts of Covid-19 with a larger sample, and how occupational therapy may facilitate leisure participation. A conference abstract was composed for the World Federation of Occupational Therapists Congress (2022) to present these findings under the themes of ‘mental health and wellbeing’ and ‘health promotion’ (see Appendix B).