Objectives. This study examined, through kinematic analysis, the effect of occupational form on reaching performance. The hypothesis was that reaching performance would show an enhanced quality of movement in materials-based occupation (i.e., pick up a pencil and prepare to write one’s own name) than in imagery-based occupation (i.e., pretend to pick up a pencil and prepare to sign one’s own name) and in exercise (i.e., move the arm forward). It was further hypothesized that imagery-based occupation would elicit better performance than exercise.

Method. The reaching performance was measured, using WATSMART (Waterloo Spatial Motion Analysis & Recording Technique), by the variables including reaction time, movement time, number of movement units, total displacement, the amplitude of peak velocity, and percentage of reach in which peak velocity occurred. A repeated-measures counterbalanced research design was used with 37 female college students. Contrast analysis was used to test the hypotheses.

Results. Materials-based occupation elicited enhanced quality of movement performance, as compared with imagery-based occupation and exercise. However, exercise seemed to elicit better performance than imagery-based occupation.

Conclusion. The practical implication is that materials-based occupation might be used to elicit enhanced quality of reaching movement in occupational therapy intervention.

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