Factors influencing occupational participation for older gay men

Thumbnail Image
JoyKelleherCARLresearchreport.pdf(3.89 MB)
Published Version
Kelleher, Joy
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
As the population of gay and lesbian older adults grows in terms of size and visibility, the need for research regarding the issues relating to this minority group equally grows. Occupational therapists must consider sexual orientation and how it influences occupational participation to provide a client-centred service to gay and lesbian service-users. A small-scale qualitative study took part in an urban area in the south of Ireland to investigate factors influencing occupational participation among older gay men. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with six men, aged between 44 and 65 years, who self-identified as older and gay. Findings produced three themes influencing occupational participation: life journeys, unsafe spaces, and social networks. Life journeys varied, yet all culminated in participants developing resilience, and a positive outlook as a result of overcoming adversity. Experiences and fears of heteronormativity and homophobia were outlined as barriers to accessing healthcare and meaningful occupations and a layer of social inaccessibility was faced by participants in certain occupations due to the actions and attitudes of others. Barriers to occupational participation, such as homophobia and heteronormativity, must be addressed to prevent occupational deprivation among gender and sexual minority groups. The findings of this study will benefit both community organisations and healthcare providers, by providing insight into the occupational needs of this population, as well as the barriers they face. In addition, this research adds knowledge to occupational science and occupational therapy theory regarding the occupational participation of sexual minority groups.
Occupation , Participation , Older , Gay , GSM , Occupational therapy
Kelleher, J. (2020) Factors influencing occupational participation for older gay men. Cork: Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork.