This participant-observer, phenomenological qualitative study explored the adult experience of a community circus class through an occupational therapy lens. Following 4 months of weekly participant-observation, semi-structured interviews were conducted with four adult beginner students in a community-based social circus class. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and analyzed using a grounded theory approach to identify six themes. Two themes addressed the structural supports of the class: Meeting People Where They Are , and Culture and Competition. Four themes were based on participant experiences and perceived outcomes: Releasing Expectations, Trying, Learning, and Fun, Making Friends, Making Community, and Feeling Better. Findings suggest that through the fun aspects of circus participation, students were able to confront and overcome physical, social, emotional and cognitive challenges. In this way, personal growth and quality of life were promoted. External supports enabled students to adopt an individualized approach to participation that encouraged self-awareness and self-assessment across multiple domains. Due to the scarcity of research investigating adult participation in circus, the therapeutic benefit of circus participation merits further investigation. Circus and occupational therapy may develop a mutually beneficial relationship on the basis of shared common philosophy and values. By working together, occupational therapy and circus may enhance their ability to address occupational justice, inclusivity, empowerment, connection, play and quality of life.
|Advisor:||Nepveux, Denise M.|
|Commitee:||Agans, Jennifer P., Hollins, Nancy|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||MAI 56/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Adult, Circus, Community, Dr. Denise M. Nepveux, Occupational therapy, Therapeutic benefit|
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