Abstract

Objectives. This study was conducted to determine occupational therapy students’ perspectives on occupation as an agent that promotes healthful lifestyles, what factors influence these perspectives, and the extent to which formal classroom instruction in occupation as a health-promoting agent influenced their perspective transformation.

Method. Through a precourse and postcourse survey, weekly log sheets, and audiotaped class discussions, data regarding attitudes and beliefs about health promotion were collected from 23 occupational therapy master’s students enrolled in the course Wellness Through Occupation. The data were analyzed with a priori concept coding to determine whether perspective transformation occurred as a result of formal classroom instruction.

Results. Participants indicated that family values, previous formal and informal instruction, and personal experience were the major factors that influenced their perspectives on occupation as an agent that promotes a healthful lifestyle. The results demonstrated that participants had a perspective transformation, which is the first step in the behavioral change process.

Conclusion. Formal classroom instruction can be a factor in promoting healthful lifestyles through occupation. Such instruction can be an important step in empowering people to take responsibility for their own health.

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