Aust Occup Ther J. 2021 Dec 27. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12778. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Parenting is a valued, common and challenging adult role. Many parents, including some living with disability or difficult social circumstances, experience barriers to fulfilling their parenting roles. Yet, occupational therapy involvement in parenting is rarely documented. Current understandings about ‘doing’ parenting lack cohesion and are dispersed in occupational therapy literature. This study aims to map and synthesise occupational therapy literature on ‘doing’ parenting to describe the state of the existing knowledge base, and develop a conceptual framework of parenting occupations as portrayed in occupational therapy literature.
METHODS: A scoping review was conducted. Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched on 28 October 2019 and updated on 18 February 2021. Journal articles and book chapters were screened for eligibility. Included texts’ publication characteristics, methodological characteristics, and areas of focus were summarised. Interpretive content analysis was conducted.
RESULTS: From 5945 unique records, 105 texts were included. These discussed general parenting, parents with disabilities, and parenting in challenging social situations. Most texts focussed on mothers caring for young children in Western cultural contexts. The analysis culminated in the development of a conceptual framework: the Parenting Occupations and Purposes (POP) Framework. This comprises 10 interrelated areas of parenting occupations, which are performed for the purposes of addressing the child’s basic, developmental and social needs. Parenting occupations were also found to be influenced by additional, underlying occupations that build parenting capacity – Continuous Parental Development (CPD) occupations.
CONCLUSION: These findings provide an overview of current occupational therapy conceptualisations of parenting. Unlike most of the existing literature on parenting, the POP Framework is parent-centric rather than child-centric. More research on parenting occupations is needed, especially with more diverse representation (fathers, ages of children, parental disability and sociocultural background). Further research is required to examine the POP Framework’s usefulness in guiding research and practice, particularly among parents with diverse characteristics.
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