Abstract

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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