Rose Martini, Heidi Cramm, Mary Egan, Lindsey Sikora; Scoping Review of Self-Regulation: What Are Occupational Therapists Talking About?. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(6):7006290010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.020362
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
Although the term self-regulation is appearing more frequently in the occupational therapy literature, the extent to which it is consistently conceptualized is not clear. The aim of this scoping review was to examine how the term self-regulation is used by occupational therapists in research and practice literature. A total of 58 publications that included occupational therapy and self-regulation in the title, key words, or abstract were identified. Self-regulation was not explicitly defined by more than half of the authors. Four theoretical orientations seem to guide conceptualization: synactive development, sensory integration, cognitive–behavioral theory, and self-regulation theory. Conceptualization differed according to the population, levels of strategy use, source of strategy implementation, and desired outcomes. A lack of definitional clarity and conceptual consistency of the term self-regulation was noted. Use of an explicit definition in relation to an identified theoretical framework is recommended to promote intra- and interprofessional communication, education, and research.
Clinicians should be aware of and understand the conceptual framework and theories surrounding the self-regulation construct they are using.
To ensure proper application and evaluation of the effectiveness of self-regulation strategies, it is important for clinicians to consider what they aim to change through the use of these strategies and how this change is being brought about.
When two levels of self-regulation strategies are applied, it is important for clinicians to evaluate the effectiveness of each level.
When communicating, within and outside of the profession, practitioners should not assume that everyone possesses the same understanding of self-regulation. They should facilitate understanding by specifying the expected results (e.g., change in a particular behavior or emotion vs. new application of a strategy).
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