Research Article
Issue Date: April 1989
Published Online: April 01, 1989
Updated: April 30, 2020
Specialty Choice in Occupational Therapy
Author Affiliations
  • Sharon Ezersky, MA, OTR, is Coordinator of Student Training, The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, Activities Therapy Department, 111 North 49th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19139
  • Leora Havazelet, MA, OTR, is Senior Occupational Therapist, Unit for Personality Studies, New York State Psychiatric Institute
  • Anne Hiller Scott, MA, OTR, FAOTA, is Clinical Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Program, State University of New York–Health Science Center at Brooklyn
  • Catherine L. B. Zettler, MA, OTR, was a staff occupational therapist at United Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey when this article was written, She is now in private practice
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Mental Health / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Features
Research Article   |   April 01, 1989
Specialty Choice in Occupational Therapy
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 1989, Vol. 43, 227-233.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 1989, Vol. 43, 227-233.
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The shortage of occupational therapists specializing in mental health led to a survey of graduates from nine occupational therapy schools in the New York metropolitan area to determine the factors affecting their specialty choice. The variables examined were derived from a literature review of the specialty choice of psychiatry among medical students. They included personality, academic, clinical, and employment attributes. The results from 411 respondents supported the assumption that fewer occupational therapists were working in mental health than in pediatrics or physical disabilities. The primary factors affecting specialty choice were the fieldwork experience, the feelings of effectiveness in the specialty area, and the perception of employment availability. Recommendations based on a literature review and survey are included.