Research Article  |   December 2016
A Century of Therapeutic Use of the Physical Environment
Author Affiliations
  • Amy Marshall, PhD, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond
  • Christine Myers, PhD, OTR/L, is Research Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Florida, Gainesville
  • Doris Pierce, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Endowed Chair in Occupational Therapy, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond; doris.pierce@eku.edu
Article Information
Advocacy / Assistive Technology / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Vision / Centennial Topics
Research Article   |   December 2016
A Century of Therapeutic Use of the Physical Environment
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2016, Vol. 71, 7101100030p1-7101100030p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.023960
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2016, Vol. 71, 7101100030p1-7101100030p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.023960
Abstract

In this article, we describe the use of the objects and spaces of the physical environment by occupational therapy practitioners in the United States over the profession’s first 100 years. Using professional literature selected by decade from the years 1917 through 2016 to obtain data, we applied grounded theory methods to complete a detailed description. Team-based analysis over four coding schemes yielded a theoretical description of the profession’s therapeutic use of the physical environment. Study findings included descriptions across occupational therapy’s history of (1) treatment spaces, (2) the concepts of adapting and grading, and (3) a typology of constructive and nonconstructive applications of objects and activities by occupational therapy clients and practitioners. This extended historical perspective on trajectories of change in intervention space, the role of physical products in intervention, therapist repertoire, and the enduring role of adaptation suggests how the physical environment may be used in future practice.