Abstract

Occupational therapists often employ multidimensional tasks. These tasks, referred to as added-purpose tasks, provide a person with necessary exercise, yet direct the focus of attention toward another objective or outcome. The assumption is that the additional purpose will result in improved task performance, provided it is sufficiently distracting or meaningful to the person. The present study examined the effects of an added-purpose task compared with a single-purpose task on performance, as measured by the number of repetitions, task duration, and exercise heart rate. Thirty subjects performed either the added-purpose task or the single-purpose task three times during a 2-week period. Each session was terminated when the subject reported that he or she was exercising at a “very hard” rate on a measure of perceived exertion. A multiple analysis of variance for repeated measures indicated no significant difference between the performance of the subjects in the added-purpose versus the single-purpose task group on any of the dependent measures. Solicitation of patients’ assessment of the value and meaningfulness of the rehabilitative task has practical importance.

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