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Title: Levelling the playing field: Exploring inequalities and exclusions with a community-based football league for people with experience of mental distress
Authors: Pettican, A
Speed, E
Bryant, W
Kilbride, C
Beresford, P
Keywords: Football, health inequalities, mental distress, occupational marginalisation, occupationaltherapy, participatory action research, physical (in)activity, sport;football;health inequalities;mental distress;occupational marginalisation;occupational therapy;participatory action research;physical (in)activity;sport
Issue Date: 23-Jan-2022
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Occupational Therapy Australia
Citation: Pettican, A., et. al. (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. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.127912022.
Abstract: Copyright © 2022 The Authors. 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.
Description: Data availability statement: The data that support the findings of this study are openly available in the University of Essex Research Repository at
ISSN: 0045-0766
Other Identifiers: ORCiD IDs: Anna Pettican -; Ewen Speed -; Wendy Bryant -; Cherry Kilbride -; Peter Beresford -
Appears in Collections:Dept of Health Sciences Research Papers

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