Objectives. This study compares the occupational role profile of a large sample of community-living persons without disabilities with the profile of a population of patients with psychosocial or physical disabilities and suggests areas of occupational therapy intervention.

Methods. The Role Checklist was used to compare the roles of 1,020 community-living persons without disabilities with the roles of 292 adults with physical or psychosocial disabilities. Specifically, community-living persons were matched to the entire patient group, a group of patients with psychosocial dysfunction, and a group of patients with physical dysfunction to compare the groups in terms of their past, present, and future role profiles and the value they assigned to those roles.

Results. There were significant differences in the types of roles identified. In general, the patients identified involvement in fewer present roles than the community-living persons. Differences between the two groups also appeared in the identification of future roles and value of those roles.

Conclusions. Roles appear to be affected by disability, whether physical or psychosocial in nature. If role participation is seen as part of the occupational functioning of the person, occupational therapy needs to address this area.

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