Title

Enhancing Participation and Health in New Immigrants: Translating Occupational Science into Occupational Therapy Practice

Start Time

21-10-2011 10:35 AM

End Time

21-10-2011 10:50 AM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

Purpose: Research on immigration largely put forth by social psychologists and sociologists have mainly dealt with issues of adaptation in terms of acculturation (Berry, 1997, 2001) and ethnic identity (Deaux, 2006). Although such research provides helpful insights on the immigrant experience (Kemp & Rasbridge, 2004), it is of indirect theoretical value for informing occupational therapy practice with immigrants. For nearly a decade, we have conducted occupational science research to understand immigrants’ crosscultural experiences in everyday occupations. We used the results of this research, in conjunction with existing literature, to develop a curriculum to help them identify transitional challenges and develop the tools and attitudes to manage them so as to positively impact their health and well-being. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the process and outcomes of this curriculum.

Methods: A collaborative community-based participatory research approach guided the curriculum delivery process with two classes of intermediate level English proficiency students in an adult ELL community school. Classes ran weekly for four months. The teacher-researchers followed a philosophy of reciprocal teaching and learning. The mixed-method design included observations, questionnaires, focus groups and individual interviews. The data was analyzed using standard statistical and qualitative methodology and triangulated to evaluate the impact of the sessions on participants’ self-efficacy, health promoting routines and habits, and occupational adaptation.

Results: A total of 44 students took part in the study, although many did not attend all sessions. While good data could be gathered from some of our quantitative measures to inform the focus of our sessions, their interpretation was complicated by the participants’ lack of familiarity with these types of tools. The focus groups, however, were consistently perceived as an enjoyable activity, and proved to be the most helpful methodology. Results indicate that participants perceived our curriculum as unique and meaningful. They recounted specific ways in which they changed their routines and habits towards a healthier lifestyle following our modules. They used several of the suggested adjustment strategies and found the information about stress management and injury prevention in the workplace particularly helpful.

Conclusions: Our results strongly suggest that occupational science research was successful in informing an intervention that was seen as beneficial for the healthy adjustment of immigrants to their new culture.

Topics for Discussion: The discussion portion of the presentation will be used to facilitate conversation about at least two of the three following questions:

  1. What are the benefits of using occupational science research to inform the development of meaningful occupational therapy intervention?
  2. What are some of the ways to deal with the challenges of conducting research in the context of a natural environment?
  3. Discuss the advantages of a mixed method approach when evaluating program effectiveness with participants from heterogeneous educational, cultural and linguistic backgrounds

References

Berry, J. W. (1997). Immigration, acculturation and adaptation. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 46, 5–68.

Berry, J. W. (2001). A psychology of immigration. Journal of Social Issues, 57, 615–631. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.00231

Deaux, K. (2006). To be an immigrant. New York: Russel Sage Foundation.

Kemp, C., & Rasbridge, L. (2004). Refugee and immigrant health: A handbook for health professionals. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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Research paper

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Oct 21st, 10:35 AM Oct 21st, 10:50 AM

Enhancing Participation and Health in New Immigrants: Translating Occupational Science into Occupational Therapy Practice

Purpose: Research on immigration largely put forth by social psychologists and sociologists have mainly dealt with issues of adaptation in terms of acculturation (Berry, 1997, 2001) and ethnic identity (Deaux, 2006). Although such research provides helpful insights on the immigrant experience (Kemp & Rasbridge, 2004), it is of indirect theoretical value for informing occupational therapy practice with immigrants. For nearly a decade, we have conducted occupational science research to understand immigrants’ crosscultural experiences in everyday occupations. We used the results of this research, in conjunction with existing literature, to develop a curriculum to help them identify transitional challenges and develop the tools and attitudes to manage them so as to positively impact their health and well-being. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the process and outcomes of this curriculum.

Methods: A collaborative community-based participatory research approach guided the curriculum delivery process with two classes of intermediate level English proficiency students in an adult ELL community school. Classes ran weekly for four months. The teacher-researchers followed a philosophy of reciprocal teaching and learning. The mixed-method design included observations, questionnaires, focus groups and individual interviews. The data was analyzed using standard statistical and qualitative methodology and triangulated to evaluate the impact of the sessions on participants’ self-efficacy, health promoting routines and habits, and occupational adaptation.

Results: A total of 44 students took part in the study, although many did not attend all sessions. While good data could be gathered from some of our quantitative measures to inform the focus of our sessions, their interpretation was complicated by the participants’ lack of familiarity with these types of tools. The focus groups, however, were consistently perceived as an enjoyable activity, and proved to be the most helpful methodology. Results indicate that participants perceived our curriculum as unique and meaningful. They recounted specific ways in which they changed their routines and habits towards a healthier lifestyle following our modules. They used several of the suggested adjustment strategies and found the information about stress management and injury prevention in the workplace particularly helpful.

Conclusions: Our results strongly suggest that occupational science research was successful in informing an intervention that was seen as beneficial for the healthy adjustment of immigrants to their new culture.

Topics for Discussion: The discussion portion of the presentation will be used to facilitate conversation about at least two of the three following questions:

  1. What are the benefits of using occupational science research to inform the development of meaningful occupational therapy intervention?
  2. What are some of the ways to deal with the challenges of conducting research in the context of a natural environment?
  3. Discuss the advantages of a mixed method approach when evaluating program effectiveness with participants from heterogeneous educational, cultural and linguistic backgrounds