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This is the final published article from The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 8(3), 1-16, 2020.

The article can also be accessed at the journal's website:

Copyright. The Authors. Posted with permission.


Background: Minimal attention has been given to the perspectives and experiences of individuals post incarceration regarding stigma and its impact on reintegration and occupational engagement. This research aimed to understand how stigma is experienced among individuals who were formerly incarcerated and its influence on occupational engagement, specifically social participation, work, and school occupations. This research also examined the role of occupational therapy as an intervention in addressing stigma from the perspectives of individuals who were formerly incarcerated to inform practice and mitigate the influence of stigma. Method: Interviews were conducted with 10 participants of a work rehabilitation program for people who had previously been incarcerated. A thematic analysis was performed to identify major themes. Themes were organized into concept maps related to stigma as experienced by those who were formerly incarcerated.

Results: Four overarching themes emerged. These themes, internal and external perceptions, and family and community systems, served to enable as well as disable the impact of stigma on daily life post incarceration.

Conclusion: The themes presented increased the understanding of stigma as experienced by individuals who were formerly incarcerated and supported the need for further research and occupational therapy programming specifically aimed at minimizing the impact of stigma.