Research Article  |   March 2018
Investigating Public Perception of Occupational Therapy: An Environmental Scan of Three Media Outlets
Author Affiliations
  • Wendy E. Walsh, PhD, MOT, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA; w.walsh@usciences.edu
Article Information
Advocacy / Complementary/Alternative Approaches / Health and Wellness / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Professional Issues / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 2018
Investigating Public Perception of Occupational Therapy: An Environmental Scan of Three Media Outlets
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2018, Vol. 72, 7203205080p1-7203205080p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.024513
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2018, Vol. 72, 7203205080p1-7203205080p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.024513
Abstract

Using a phenomenological approach, this study investigated visibility and perception of the profession of occupational therapy in three media outlets. Content analysis occurred on LexisNexis Academic (LNA), Google Images, and Twitter platforms. Analysis of LNA identified the prevalence of articles about occupational therapy in domestic newspapers and similar media avenues, MaxQDA qualitative software coded Google Images from a search on occupational therapy, and AnalyzeWords evaluated Twitter feeds of four health care professions for presence and tone in a social media context. Results indicate that although occupational therapy is 100 years old, its presence in news and online platforms could be stronger. This study suggests that a clear professional identity for occupational therapy practitioners must be strategically communicated through academic and social platforms. Such advocacy promotes the profession, meets the next iteration of occupational therapy’s professional vision, and allows occupational therapy to remain a prominent and formidable stakeholder in today’s health care marketplace.