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Disabil Rehabil. 2013 Oct;35(21):1790-7. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2012.754951. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Connecting rehabilitation and everyday life--the lived experiences among women with stress-related ill health.

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Division of Occupational Therapy, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm , Sweden .



The aim was to describe and understand how connecting rehabilitation experiences and everyday life was characterised in the lived experiences during the rehabilitation in women with stress-related ill health.


Five women were interviewed on three occasions during a rehabilitation programme and once 3 months later. Data were analysed using the Empirical, Phenomenological and Psychological method.


The participants experienced connections between their rehabilitation and their previous, present and future everyday life influencing both rehabilitation and everyday life in a back-and-forth process. These connections were experienced in mind or in doing, mostly targeting the private arena in everyday life. Connecting rehabilitation experiences to their working situations was more challenging and feelings of frustration and being left alone were experienced.


Although the participants described constructive connections between rehabilitation experiences and the private arena in everyday life, they mostly failed to experience connections that facilitated a positive return to work. Recommended support in the return to work process in rehabilitation comprises the provision of practical work-related activities during rehabilitation; being supportive in a constructive dialogue between the participant and the workplace, and continuing this support in follow-ups after the actual rehabilitation period.


Rehabilitation for persons with stress-related ill health needs to focus on the private arena as well as the work situation in everyday life. Creative activities may enable experiences that inspire connections in mind and connections targeting the private arena in everyday life. The work situation needs to be thoroughly discussed during rehabilitation for enabling the participants to experience a support in the return to work process. Rehabilitation including practical work-related activities, support in a constructive dialogue between the participant and the manager at the workplace, and continued support in follow-ups targeting the workplace might be beneficial for successfully return to work.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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