Humans are both natural doers and occupational beings, but in order to consider them as such, one must understand all occupational choices, the meanings and human behavior behind the choices, and the environment in which the choices take place (Helbig & McKay, 2003). Considering self-harm, substance abuse, and addiction as occupations advances this understanding of humans as occupational in nature who are molded by their occupational choices and factors surrounding them (Wasmuth, Brandon-Friedman, & Olesek, 2016). This study aimed to gain an understanding of the occupational nature of humans that engage in occupations defined as harmful by society in order to expand on the overly positive view of occupation. The current focus on occupation has silenced a compelling part of the experiences of humans due to the inherent focus on the health-enhancing capabilities of occupation. Using themes gathered from a literature review to guide observation of video testimonials, a qualitative analysis was done with the aim of acknowledging engagement in substance abuse, self-harm, and addiction as occupational in nature, and to broaden the understanding of occupations and their relationship to health and well-being. Specific accounts of engagement from the video testimonials were interpreted by the researcher and classified into three categories developed from existing literature. The results were discussed in relation to the three categories, and connections from the testimonials were made to ideas in the existing literature.



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