In pursuit of holistic wellbeing: the current use of the outdoors in professional occupational therapy practice in the United States of America and the United Kingdom

Kalb, Kristen (2013) In pursuit of holistic wellbeing: the current use of the outdoors in professional occupational therapy practice in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Masters dissertation, University of Cumbria. Item availability may be restricted.

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Abstract

Introduction: Occupational therapy (OT) is a profession concerned with the promotion of health and wellbeing through meaningful participation in occupation. Research has shown that outdoor landscapes and interaction with nature have been associated with improved health and wellbeing for individuals. This cross-cultural research has been conducted in order to understand the current use of the outdoors in occupational therapy practices in the United States and the United Kingdom, and to understand how outdoor environments might be utilised as a significant tool in occupational therapy practice to promote client wellbeing.

Methods: Registered occupational therapists from the US and UK responded to an online questionnaire, reporting on demographics, attitudes, awareness, behaviours, and cultural identity in relation to the use of the outdoors in practice. Thematic analysis was used to categorise, analyse and discuss data findings.

Findings: Participants reported various uses of the outdoors in OT, and significant awareness of the benefits of outdoor environments in therapy with clients. However, they noted substantial barriers and limitations that restrict their ability to utilise the outdoors regularly as a tool in daily OT practice.

Conclusion: Research showed a valuable place for the outdoors in occupational therapy, though usage is seemingly limited due to pragmatic constraints. Increased awareness of benefits for funding agencies and the addition of accessible outdoor spaces in OT practice settings would greatly improve the potential for utilisation of the outdoors in therapy. Further research is necessary in order to provide additional evidence of outdoor benefits for clients specific to the occupational therapy profession.

Item Type: Thesis/Dissertation (Masters)
Departments: Outdoor Studies
Additional Information: Dissertation presented in part fulfilment of the requirements of the Degree of Master of Arts in Transcultural European Outdoor Studies, University of Cumbria, 2013.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2018 09:04
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2018 00:10
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3894

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