21 / 2005
Urša Bratun


Migration is one of the most stressful transitions. Immigrants are frequently confronted with negative sensations and with identity crisis. The author approached the problematic from the aspect of work therapy, and enlightened the role of the profession with the integration of that population. Knowledge on human occupations that is specific for work therapists can contribute to theoretical understanding of immigration situations.

Presented in detail are the Swedish experiences. The phenomenon of immigration is in Sweden a reality as in five years time immigrants will present as much as a third of the Swedish population. Researches have shown that economic immigrants have not been particularly successful in the past. Characteristic of them was among other a large share in premature retirement. In addition, in the well mobile Swedish society the children of immigrants in comparison to the native population move economically easier downwards and with difficulty upwards in view of incomes of their parents.

Three different adaptation styles are characteristic with immigrants. Identification with the new culture or commitment to source ethnic identity are the less welcome variants. Most successful is a development of bicultural identity and transculturation. That is how Slovenes in Sweden included in the qualitative research by the author responded to immigration. A work therapeutic paradigm directed the research. The process of adaptation and integration and the biculturalism of the participants are presented through their selection of occupations and habits. New occupations and practices gradually joined the activities linked to primary social environment. From the aspect of work therapy, integration signified a merge of new and old customs and occupations in the occupational pattern of the individual.

Immigration is a vital change, which follows the dynamics of other life changes comprised in the mentioned research. The author does not wish to generalize the findings. She is interested in human occupational responses to changes and how they are connected with fundamental psychological characteristics in which we are despite our individuality, alike.