Deakin University

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Research priorities in mental health occupational therapy: a study of clinician perspectives

journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-01, 00:00 authored by Danielle HitchDanielle Hitch, K Lhuede
BACKGROUND/AIM: The evidence to support mental health occupational therapy has proliferated in the early years of this century, but this growth has tended to be organic rather than targeted. Previous efforts to identify research priorities in this area of practice are either out dated, or encompass discrete areas of practice. The aim of this study was to identify priority areas for research in mental health occupational therapy from clinician's perspectives. METHODS: A Policy Delphi method was used to enable occupational therapists to define and differentiate their perspectives on research priorities. Forty-two occupational therapists took part in the first two rounds of this method, with 69% (n = 29) going on to complete the third and final round of data collection. A Likert scale was used to rate the importance of each priority, and descriptive quantitative analysis undertaken to identify those most consistently identified as being highly important. RESULTS: Four research priorities were identified as being highly important in this study: (i) working in an occupationally focussed way; (ii) consumer experience of therapy groups; (iii) identifying factors which increase consumer engagement in occupation; and (iv) engaging patients on the inpatient unit in meaningful and positive occupation. CONCLUSIONS: Two of the priority areas are already the subject of substantial evidence bases, but there has been far less research into consumer experiences of groups and occupational engagement in acute settings. Collaboration between research teams and greater consumer inclusion are recommended for the future. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: This study provides an updated indication of research priorities for mental health occupational therapy in Australia.



Australian occupational therapy journal






326 - 332




Chichester, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Occupational Therapy Australia