This study determined which variables differentiated occupational therapy leaders from nonleaders and identified factors that contributed to leadership. The subjects were 405 occupational therapists 36 to 74 years old. Some (79) were leaders in the field, and others (326) were randomly selected members of The American Occupational Therapy Association who did not occupy leadership roles. Eighty-nine percent of the questionnaires were returned.
Few demographic differences separated the two groups; however, the findings showed that a substantial portion of the leaders shared experiences in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood that the nonleaders did not share. Leaders viewed themselves as leaders, desired leadership, and saw leadership as an appropriate activity for women. Their view of the female role was less traditional than that of nonleaders. They married much less frequently; those who did marry had fewer children. Most married leaders’ husbands highly supported their wives’ leadership activities.