OBJECTIVE. The student cohort model used by most occupational therapy programs can produce outcomes that are either adaptive or maladaptive as a result of the unique identities formed by student cohorts. The purpose of this study was to examine the cohort model through the lens of group-level affect and emotional contagion theory.
METHOD. The study used a cross-sectional survey design with 159 undergraduate health care cohort members (including occupational therapy assistant students) across 24 student cohorts. The survey consisted of three measures, the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, the Emotional Contagion Scale, and the Emotional Expressivity Scale.
RESULTS. Data analysis showed that group affective convergence occurred along a continuum of positive affect. The results also showed that cohort members’ susceptibility to the emotion of anger strengthened the cohort’s emotional convergence.
CONCLUSION. Cohort identity may be influenced by the process of emotional contagion, creating a distinct group-level affect.