Research Article
Issue Date: May/June 2021
Published Online: March 12, 2021
Updated: April 26, 2021
Incivility in the Occupational Therapy Workplace: A Survey of Practitioners
Author Affiliations
  • Deborah J. Bolding, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, San José State University, San José, CA; deborah.bolding@sjsu.edu
  • Cameron McCallister, MS, is Occupational Therapy Student, Department of Occupational Therapy, San José State University, San José, CA.
  • Kate Poisson, MS, is Occupational Therapy Student, Department of Occupational Therapy, San José State University, San José, CA.
  • David M. Pufki, BS, is Occupational Therapy Student, Department of Occupational Therapy, San José State University, San José, CA.
  • Angelica Ramirez, BA, is Occupational Therapy Student, Department of Occupational Therapy, San José State University, San José, CA.
  • Claire Rickly, BSSW, is Occupational Therapy Student, Department of Occupational Therapy, San José State University, San José, CA.
  • Victoria Scattini, BS, is Occupational Therapy Student, Department of Occupational Therapy, San José State University, San José, CA.
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Education of OTs and OTAs / Long-Term Care/Skilled Nursing Facilities / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 12, 2021
Incivility in the Occupational Therapy Workplace: A Survey of Practitioners
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2021, Vol. 75, 7503205020. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2021.046698
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2021, Vol. 75, 7503205020. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2021.046698
Abstract

Importance: Incivility in health care settings has detrimental effects on practitioners’ well-being, patient outcomes, and health care costs.

Objective: To explore the prevalence and types of perceived incivility experienced by occupational therapy practitioners in their workplaces and the relationships between perceived incivility and practitioner demographics.

Design: Cross-sectional, online survey.

Setting: Surveys were posted to occupational therapy social media sites.

Participants: Occupational therapy practitioners throughout the United States.

Outcomes and Measures: The Negative Acts Questionnaire–Revised (NAQ–R) was used to measure incivility and bullying. Participants answered demographic questions, and one-way analyses of variance and t tests were used to examine differences between demographic characteristics and mean scores on the NAQ–R.

Results: A total of 1,320 practitioners completed the survey. Although the incidence of incivility was low compared with prior research in other health professions, 11% of respondents reported being victims of bullying in the workplace. Practitioners with less experience and who worked in long-term care and skilled nursing settings were more likely to experience incivility, and occupational therapy practitioners experienced significantly less incivility than occupational therapy assistants.

Conclusions and Relevance: Practitioners, colleagues, managers, and organizations must collaborate to foster an environment of civility and respect to mitigate the effects of incivility on patient outcomes, practitioners’ well-being, and health care costs.

What This Article Adds: This survey provides baseline information regarding incivility experienced by occupational therapy practitioners, an important first step in developing evidence-based interventions to promote safe and healthy workplaces.