Title

Occupational Engagement of Occupational Therapy Students Surrounding Academics

Presenter Information

Sonia Lawson, Towson University

Start Time

4-10-2012 8:00 PM

End Time

4-10-2012 9:30 PM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

Participants will:

  1. Discuss factors impacting occupational engagement of occupational therapy students in academic related activities and associated meanings.
  2. Discuss areas of future research in this area to further knowledge of occupational engagement in order to promote occupational balance and success among students as they progress through their academic programs.

To examine patterns of occupational engagement as they relate to students’ sense of occupational balance, investment in learning, and academic performance.

A sequential mixed-methods approach was used to examine the occupational engagement of a sample of students from two occupational therapy programs offered by one university: a combined BS/MS and a professional MS program. A 38-item survey was developed by the researchers based on a review of literature focusing on demographics, goal orientations, stressors and coping strategies, and personality/learning style preferences and was administered electronically. Students who completed the survey were recruited for focus groups (104 of 268 available students completed survey; 21 participated in focus groups). Quantitative data were analyzed for patterns of occupational engagement and factors impacting this engagement. Focus group data augmented quantitative data by clarifying and expanding findings from the survey for a more comprehensive analysis.

Results indicated that students were highly motivated, demonstrated mastery and performance goal orientations, were highly stressed, and organized their studies to complete assignments without feeling as if they were able to engage in deep learning processes. There were differences between students in the two programs in family and financial impacts to engagement in their studies. The fact that students progressed through their programs as a cohort helped them feel more supported. Students developed more effective adaptive strategies as they progressed in the program.

In keeping with the beliefs of occupational scientists, a direct approach to study the engagement of students in their academics was undertaken rather than draw inferences from other disciplines. An occupation perspective was used focusing on the habits, routines, and preferences students employed throughout their program and how these created balance or imbalance and the impacts on their academic performance. It is important to fully understand how students engage in not only academic tasks but other activities in their lives that can impact their academics.

References

Conneely, A.L (2005). Study at master’s level: A qualitative study exploring the experience of students. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(3), 104-109.

Everly, J. S., Poff, D. W., Lamport, N., Hamant, C., & Alvey, G. (1994). Perceived stressors and coping strategies of occupational therapy students. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 48(11), 1022-1028. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.48.11.1022

Salamonson, Y., Andrew, S., & Everett, B. (2009). Academic engagement and disengagement as predictors of performance in pathophysiology among nursing students. Contemporary Nurse, 32(1-2), 123-132. http://dx.doi.org/10.5172/conu.32.1-2.123

Sviden, G. (2000). Different approaches to learning among occupational therapy students. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 7, 132-137. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/110381200300006087

Vrugt, A., Oort, F., & Zeeberg, C. (2002). Goal orientation, perceived self-efficacy and study results amongst beginners and advanced students. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72(3), 385-397. http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000709902320634285

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Oct 4th, 8:00 PM Oct 4th, 9:30 PM

Occupational Engagement of Occupational Therapy Students Surrounding Academics

Participants will:

  1. Discuss factors impacting occupational engagement of occupational therapy students in academic related activities and associated meanings.
  2. Discuss areas of future research in this area to further knowledge of occupational engagement in order to promote occupational balance and success among students as they progress through their academic programs.

To examine patterns of occupational engagement as they relate to students’ sense of occupational balance, investment in learning, and academic performance.

A sequential mixed-methods approach was used to examine the occupational engagement of a sample of students from two occupational therapy programs offered by one university: a combined BS/MS and a professional MS program. A 38-item survey was developed by the researchers based on a review of literature focusing on demographics, goal orientations, stressors and coping strategies, and personality/learning style preferences and was administered electronically. Students who completed the survey were recruited for focus groups (104 of 268 available students completed survey; 21 participated in focus groups). Quantitative data were analyzed for patterns of occupational engagement and factors impacting this engagement. Focus group data augmented quantitative data by clarifying and expanding findings from the survey for a more comprehensive analysis.

Results indicated that students were highly motivated, demonstrated mastery and performance goal orientations, were highly stressed, and organized their studies to complete assignments without feeling as if they were able to engage in deep learning processes. There were differences between students in the two programs in family and financial impacts to engagement in their studies. The fact that students progressed through their programs as a cohort helped them feel more supported. Students developed more effective adaptive strategies as they progressed in the program.

In keeping with the beliefs of occupational scientists, a direct approach to study the engagement of students in their academics was undertaken rather than draw inferences from other disciplines. An occupation perspective was used focusing on the habits, routines, and preferences students employed throughout their program and how these created balance or imbalance and the impacts on their academic performance. It is important to fully understand how students engage in not only academic tasks but other activities in their lives that can impact their academics.