OBJECTIVE. This article examines descriptors of race, ethnicity, and social class in case material in 145 articles published in The American Journal of Occupational Therapy from 1975 to 1998.
METHOD. Ethnicity labels and descriptors of occupation or other indicators of social class in case examples describing adults were collected. Frequencies of these labels and descriptors were compared with the population demographics of the 1990 U.S. census using chi-square goodness-of-fit analyses.
RESULTS. Reported indicators of race and social class were inconsistent and primarily absent in the literature, making comparisons with the U.S. population difficult. When missing race labels were assumed to be White, the case material showed disproportionate racial distributions compared with that of the U.S. population, with persons of minority races being significantly underrepresented.
CONCLUSION. The findings suggest that appropriate representation of race and social class in occupational therapy literature has not yet been achieved. The authors suggest a change in documentation conventions for occupational therapy literature and clinical writing.