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Research Article  |   February 1996
A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Occupational Therapy for Older Persons
Author Affiliations
  • Mike Carlson, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, 1540 Alcazar, CHP 133, Los Angeles, California 90033
  • Shan-Pin Fanchiang, MA, MS, OTR, is Doctoral Student, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
  • Ruth Zemke, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
  • Florence Clark, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Research
Research Article   |   February 1996
A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Occupational Therapy for Older Persons
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1996, Vol. 50, 89-98. doi:10.5014/ajot.50.2.89
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1996, Vol. 50, 89-98. doi:10.5014/ajot.50.2.89
Abstract

Given the current health care debate, it is imperative to document the usefulness of various health services for older persons, a rapidly growing population at increased risk for a wide variety of physical and functional impairments. A meta-analysis was conducted to examine the degree of effectiveness of occupational therapy for older persons. For a sample of 15 distinct tests of occupational therapy, a positive unweighted mean effect size of .51 (.54 when corrected for instrument unreliability) was obtained, along with a highly significant cumulative result for treatment success (p < .001). Beneficial treatment effects extended to activities of daily living–functional and psychosocial outcomes. The results for physical outcomes suggested a beneficial effect, although not every meta-analytic test yielded significant results. It was concluded that factors such as publication bias or poor study design are incapable of accounting for the positive meta-analytic result and that occupational therapy represents a worthwhile treatment option for older persons.