Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 86, Issue 2, pp 269–283 | Cite as

Meanings Associated with the Core Component of Clubhouse Life: The Work-Ordered Day

  • Kimiko Tanaka
  • Larry Davidson
Original Paper


Despite the clubhouse model’s 60-year existence internationally, the central nature of its core program, the “work-ordered day” (WOH) (Beard et al. in Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal 5:47–53, 1982), is not well understood; hence, the primary focus of the present study was to explore members’ experiences of the nature and meaning of the WOH. The study drew on qualitative interview data collected in 2009–2013 through open-ended questions and probes with 102 members and 24 staff from 5 Clubhouse International-certified clubhouses (2 US and 3 Finnish). Participant observation supplemented the interviews and all data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach (Charmaz in Rethinking methods in psychology, 1995; Glaser and Strauss in The discovery of grounded theory: strategies for qualitative research, 1967). Two major themes clustered around: (a) WOH in service of autonomy (things to do, sense of accomplishment, respite, development of occupational skills) and (b) WOH in service of relationships (receiving support; collaboration; and making contributions to the clubhouse community). Clubhouse members appeared to experience the WOH as meaningful because it helps them, as its best, reconstruct a life, develop their occupational self and skill sets, and experientially learn and live what parallels a good life in the general community. It appears that these experiences, interconnecting with the fundamental human needs for autonomy and relationship, point to wellbeing and recovery as part of personal growth. These findings can guide clubhouse daily practice in assessing members’ psychosocial strengths and needs pertaining to recovery. Future research should elaborate on influences of sources of meaning, including work designs and the contributions of everyday socio-cultural interactive and reciprocal processes to these meanings.


Psychiatric recovery Clubhouse model Work-ordered day Work Autonomy Relationships 


Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marywood University School of Social Work & Administrative StudiesScrantonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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