Occupational Therapy Interventions for Adolescents: A Scoping Review
Aim and Background: Occupations are everyday activities that help occupy our time and provide us with a sense of purpose in life. Adolescence is a unique stage of life when individuals experience occupational change that assists with preparation for adulthood. Participation in occupations is linked to health and wellbeing. Existing literature on occupational participation appears to combine adolescents’ and children’s experiences. Due to the unique nature of adolescence and an increased focus on service development and re-design for all age groups in Australia since the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, this scoping review sought to explore Occupational Therapy interventions that promote adolescents’ participation in everyday occupations. Design and Methods: A systematic search of eight databases for peer reviewed papers published between 2008 and 2018 was conducted. The PRISMA guidelines were used to guide the review processes. Study selection criteria focussed
on Occupational Therapy interventions promoting participation in everyday occupations for adolescents (between 10 to 19 years of age). The data was charted and synthesised to identify key features of the interventions. Results: The 26 included studies revealed various intervention types and adolescent groups. The majority of the interventions targeted adolescents with physical disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. Many studies focussed on promoting functional independence in work, personal care, social participation and health management. Features of interventions include collaborative (with the adolescent and family) intervention goal setting and evaluation processes, as well as the use of technology. The majority of the papers reported positive outcomes, however mixed results were also identified. The findings provide guidance for adolescent service development and re-design by identifying the areas of occupation and features of programs, documented in Occupational Therapy-specific literature. Future reviews can extend our understanding further by incorporating by including publications that focus on assessment and other roles of Occupational Therapists.
Keywords: participation, occupation, Occupational Therapy, adolescents
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