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Research Article  |   March 2004
Culture Emergent in Occupation
Author Affiliations
  • Bette R. Bonder, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Cleveland State University, 2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115; b.bonder@csuohio.edu
  • Laura Martin, PhD, is Professor, Departments of Modern Languages, Anthropology, and Health Sciences, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Andrew W. Miracle, PhD, is Associate Dean and Professor, College of Health and Urban Affairs, Florida International University, Miami, Florida
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Culture and Occupation
Research Article   |   March 2004
Culture Emergent in Occupation
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2004, Vol. 58, 159-168. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.2.159
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2004, Vol. 58, 159-168. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.2.159
Abstract

Culture influences occupation as well as perceptions of health, illness, and disability. Therapists are aware of the need to address culture in interventions. However, definitions of culture can be unclear, providing little guidance to therapists about how to recognize its effects in therapeutic encounters. A pragmatic definition of culture as emergent in everyday interactions of individuals encourages reconsideration of the main elements of culture, that it is learned, shared, patterned, evaluative, and persistent but changeable. Understanding of culture as emergent in interaction, including therapeutic intervention, suggests three important characteristics that therapists can cultivate to enhance clinical encounters: careful attention, active curiosity, and self-reflection and evaluation.