Can independence positively influence health and wellbeing?

Numerous health studies show independence positively influences health and wellbeing as it allows clients to manage their own health and make informed decisions about their care and treatment.

This is an important aspect of improving health and wellbeing because, suffering from a long-term illness or injury can be detrimental to one’s physical and mental wellbeing, especially if the recovery process is not handled in an effective and meaningful way. Numerous studies have shown that a client’s independence effectively utilised throughout the recovery process, can positively influence their own health and wellbeing.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Independence can be fostered through any activity that seeks to restore a person’s feeling of dignity and self-esteem whilst recovering. By restoring these aspects, people feel more inclined to succeed in recovery with a positive outlook to further enjoying life’s undertakings once recovery is complete.

Independence boosts morale and motivates individuals’ to succeed in overcoming illness or injury. Health and wellbeing can then be measured by participation in meaningful activities which enhance engagement, enjoyment and health.

Independence throughout recovery should be encouraged. Encouragement to engage in daily activities that are meaningful to each individual is significant as the process of patient participation during recovery will not work if the activities are not tailored to the individual’s needs and lifestyle. Failing to tailor daily activities according to each individuals’ needs could cause disengagement between the health care provider(s) and client, resulting in prolonged recovery time. Therefore individuals should be supported to improve their health in ways which give them the best opportunity to lead the life that they desire.

Promoting independence during recovery of illness or injury is a concept that should therefore be explored and appreciated as a positive influencer on client recovery.


1. Law, M., Steinwender, S. and Leclair, L. (1998). Occupation, Health and Well-Being. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(2), pp.81-91.

2. Glass, T., de Leon, C., Marottoli, R. and Berkman, L. (1999). Population based study of social and productive activities as predictors of survival among elderly Americans. BMJ, 319(7208), pp.478-483.

3. Jensen, L. and Allen, M. (1994). A Synthesis of Qualitative Research on Wellness-Illness. Qualitative Health Research, 4(4), pp.349-369.

4. Lokk, J., Arnetz, B. and Theorell, T. (1993). Physiological effects on patients following temporary closing of a geriatric day care unit. Scandinavian Journal of Social Medicine, 21, pp.122-125.

5. WiderlöV, E., Bråne, G., Ekman, R., Kihigren, M., Norberg, A. and Karlsson, I. (1989). Elevated CSF somatostatin concentrations in demented patients parallel improved psychomotor functions induced by integrity-promoting care. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 79(1), pp.41-47.

6. Harris, J., Pedersen, N., Stacey, C., McClearn, G. and Nesselroad, J. (1992). Age diff e rences in the etiology of the re l a t i o n s h i p b e t ween life satisfaction and self-rated health. Journal of Ageing and Health, 4, pp.349 – 368.

7. Clark, F., Azen, S., Zemke, R., Jackson, J., Carlson, M. and Mandel, D. (1997). Occupational Therapy for Independent-Living Older Adults. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278(16), pp.1321-1326.

8. Blaxter, M., Cox, B.D., Buckle, A.L.J., Fenner, N.P., Golding, J.F., Gore, M., Huppert, F.A., Nickson, J., Roth, M., Stark, J. and Wadsworth, M.E.J., 1990. The health and lifestyle survey.

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