Objectives. Occupationally embedded exercise is a central idea in the profession of occupational therapy. This experiment compared the effect of an occupationally embedded exercise involving a simple dice game with a rote exercise in persons with stroke with pronator spasticity. Both exercise conditions involved bilaterally assisted supination, consistent with the neurodevelopmental model of practice.

Methods. The sample consisted of 14 men and 12 women post-cerebrovascular accident with a mean age of 68.4 years (SD = 11.2) at six clinical sites in California, Texas, and Michigan. Subjects had pronator spasticity, full passive range for supination after a brief warm-up, and no functional supination. After random assignment for experimental condition, the subjects engaged in two sets of 10 repetitions of bilaterally assisted supination in either the occupationally embedded condition (dice game) or the rote condition (no game). A pen recorder electronically documented degrees of rotation of the handle that was grasped during the exercise.

Results. The occupationally embedded exercise resulted in significantly more handle rotation (requiring more supination) than the rote exercise, t (24) = 2.28, P (one tailed) < .05. The effect size was large.

Conclusion. This study advances the experimental analysis of therapeutic occupation in the area of occupationally embedded exercise. Clinicians are urged to consider the multidimensional nature of occupationally embedded exercise.

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