Date of Award

Winter 2006

Project Type


Program or Major

Occupational Therapy

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Shelley Mulligan


The purpose of this study was to further our understanding of how the leisure occupations of mothers are influenced by having a child with significant developmental disabilities. Qualitative research methods specifically, a phenomenological approach was used to develop an understanding of how the mothers of children with developmental disabilities engage in leisure activities and the feelings and meanings they attach to leisure participation. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with mothers who shared their experiences regarding their leisure activities. In this study I explored time constraints, daily routines, engagement in leisure activities and the meanings attributed to them. Analysis of the data revealed common themes related to: (a) evolving definitions of leisure; (b) engagement in leisure; (c) having and finding time to engage in leisure; and (d) satisfaction with leisure engagement. The implications for pediatric occupational therapists for supporting mothers of children with developmental disabilities to manage their time and find ways to pursue meaningful leisure activities are discussed.