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Exploring Patterns of Routine in Older African-American Women. Kiersten Sweeney and Jill Wall, Eastern Michigan University, Department of Associated Health Professions, Ypsilanti, MI 48197; 734/827-2171

In 1998, Ludwig theorized that as women age they "unpackage" or decrease their life routines, embracing spontaneity and flexibility. The role of routines and the organization of time use is a reoccurring theme in occupational therapy literature, especially its inherent value in promoting well-being. Though Ludwig (1998) does not discredit these well established theories, her findings on the routines of older women challenge the belief that time occupied with routines promotes well-being. One perspective on researching those who are older is to look at their life narrative. A life narrative allows one to make sense of current occupations and the meanings behind them. Research on older adults has been disproportionately focused on affluent Caucasians, neglecting other cultural groups such as older African-American women. To further explore the nature of routine in the lives of older women, this study will use grounded theory to extract in-depth data from life narratives. This study replicates the research desig n by Ludwig (1988), in order to look at the phenomenon of routine, its meaning, and patterns in the lives of aging African-American women living in Michigan. This replication study will allow fir the refinement of theory established by Ludwig (1998) or discovery of new theory. Although the intention of this study is not to validate existing theory, refinement of a theory may add to the authenticity of what others have discovered.

Healing the Fragmented Self. Zahra Meghani, Michigan State University, Department of Philosophy, East Lansing, MI 48824;

Often in the clinical setting, individuals with illnesses or disabilities requiring long-term medical attention (for instance cancer or amputation) are treated by the medical establishment as if they are no more than "sites" of illnesses or disabilities. The fact that the medical establishment does not recognize these individuals as cognitive authorities in their own right--on the basis of their lived experience of their bodies, their life experiences, and knowledge of their values and beliefs--damages their self-concept. In this paper, as a bioethicist, I argue that patient support groups could function as sites where patients and health-care professionals could work together to heal the patients' damaged self-concept, restoring their identity as cognitive authorities in their own right.

The Role of Grandmothers in the Survival of Children with Kwashiorkor in Ghana. Brenda F. McGadney-Douglass, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202; Richard L. Douglass, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI; Nana Apt, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana; and Edward Garrison, Dine College, Shiprock, NM

The health care role of elderly women is traditional in Ghana. This role has accorded them the status of experts in social and medical problems. Grandmothers are actively involved in the caring and nurturing of their grandchildren, including the provision of food and health care. The purpose of this discussion is to present descriptive and graphic findings about the role of Ghanaian grandmothers in the survival of grandchildren diagnosed with Kwashiorkor (severe protein malnutrition). This analysis, based on data from a 1999 field study of surviving adolescents, found that grandmothers played a major role in the children's survival. There is little understanding of cultural and social factors that helped these children to live when most others died. The relationship of these findings to models of health behavior will be explored, with particular reference to compliance with difficult medical regimens. The roles of these grandmothers provide a model for intergenerational health care and familial health behavio r compliance in high stress, impoverished conditions.

The Search for the Therapeutic Uses and Application of Humor. Patricia E. Nunn, Eastern Michigan University, Department of Nursing, Ypsilanti, MI 48917; 734/497-2054

From earlier, humor research conducted with out-patients receiving chemotherapy to current surveys of RN humor preferences, the search continues in an effort to find humor that can be consistently used in a health care setting. Humor provides physical, social, and psychological benefits to the recipient. Several recent studies describe humor use with specific aggregates of individuals. Some of the articles reveal that humor is mediated by gender, race, and age. There are often institutional barriers that may directly impact the use of humor as a therapeutic tool, e.g., agency philosophy about humor use, lack of valid and reliable humor assessment instruments, personnel comfort in using humor, and time constraints in evaluating humor preferences and applying humor therapy. Some humor intervention strategies will be offered and future research directions will be proposed.

The Impact of Trauma on Chemical Dependency Treatment and Recovery. Flo A. Hepola and Brenda F. McGadney-Douglass, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202

The co-morbidity of trauma with chemical dependency increases the degree of difficulty regarding the treatment and recovery from the dependency. Chemical dependency is affected by traumatic stress in both etiologic and treatment aspects and complicates the tasks of social workers who are responsible for such cases. This presentation will focus on practical methods for dealing with such patients in both short-term and long-term frames of reference. The discussion will be based on both field experience and the literatures that deal with these issues which are multidisciplinary and sometimes inconsistent.

Exploring the Meaning of Leisure Time for New Mothers. Julie J. Kern, Eastern Michigan University, Department of Associated Health Professions, Ypsilanti, MI 48197; 734-480-0664

Rarely is the mother's perspective illustrated in occupational therapy literature. This study will add to the knowledge base of mothering by listening to new mothers' experiences of "therapeutic" occupations or activities. A convenience sample of four participants will be used in addition to the faculty advisor's interview transcriptions (Francis-Connolly 1999). The study is primarily qualitative in nature and has three methods of data collection: questionnaire, semistructured interview, and field notes. The research is currently in progress and the following themes are emerging: "therapeutic" occupations provide sensory regulation, becoming a mother is a transformation, and mothering work appears paradoxical. Analysis of data will incorporate the sociologic method of grounded theory. Findings of the study will add to occupational therapy's body of knowledge. In popular culture, everyday occupations are referred to as therapy: "Gardening is my 'therapy'" or "therapeutic" sunshine. We, as occupational therapis ts, can learn from how lay people experience occupations as "therapeutic," integrating the essence of these occupations into practice.

Academic Service-Learning: Human Service with an Objective. Dale Rice and Polly Buchanan, Eastern Michigan University, College of Health & Human Services, Ypsilanti, MI 48197; 734/487-0077

The notion of Academic Service-Learning (ASL) is a phrase being heard more today on all campuses and is often included as a graduation requirement. It also supports the public service component of an institution's mission statement. Assessment of student competence using measurable outcomes is also a topic for discussion among academics and administrators. Incorporating ASL into curriculums is an excellent way to measure student achievement in a pragmatic setting that is often more meaningful to students. ASL contributes to positive community relations, helps improve community agencies, and helps graduate contributing professionals who are concerned citizens. ASL activities are also supported by Kolb's Learning Cycle, a popular theory among dedicated educators. Kolb's Step 3 Concrete Experience is exactly what ASL is all about. It shows students the relevance of topics, and it motivates students so that assessment of competence actually becomes a learning experience itself. Students begin to see early on how they can use their knowledge and expertise to improve their community in an act of human service. That's what good citizens do, right?
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Publication:Michigan Academician
Article Type:Critical Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2001
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