Free
Research Article  |   July 1996
Continuity and Change: Past Experience as Adaptive Repertoire in Occupational Adaptation
Author Affiliations
  • Jean Cole Spencer, PhD, OTR, is Professor and Doctoral Program Coordinator, School of Occupational Therapy, Texas Woman’s University, 1130 M. D. Anderson Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030
  • Harriett A. Davidson, MA, OTR, is Associate Professor, School of Occupational Therapy, Texas Woman’s University, Houston, Texas
  • Virginia K. White, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, School of Occupational Therapy, Texas Woman’s University, Houston, Texas
Article Information
Research
Research Article   |   July 1996
Continuity and Change: Past Experience as Adaptive Repertoire in Occupational Adaptation
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 1996, Vol. 50, 526-534. doi:10.5014/ajot.50.7.526
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 1996, Vol. 50, 526-534. doi:10.5014/ajot.50.7.526
Abstract

Narratives are gaining recognition as important ways occupational therapists and other clinicians can think about the life stories of clients. The purpose of this article is to examine a conceptualization of how changes from one chapter to another occur in life stories, using the metaphor of an adaptive repertoire, and to consider how this notion can be useful in helping clients maintain continuity and a coherent life story in times of change. Three premises based on the concept of adaptation address (a) configurations of occupational forms embedded in particular local worlds, (b) cumulative development of an adaptive repertoire that allows one to perform both competently and appropriately, and (c) adaptive transitions and application of one’s repertoire to new circumstances. Implications for research and clinical practice in occupational therapy also are examined.