Occupational therapists : empowerors or oppressors? : a study of occupational therapy students' attitudes towards disabled people
Taylor, M. Clare (1999) Occupational therapists : empowerors or oppressors? : a study of occupational therapy students' attitudes towards disabled people. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
WRAP_THESIS_Taylor_1999.pdf - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1364015~S15
The aim of the research was to investigate the concepts of, and attitudes
towards, people with physical disabilities held by occupational therapy (OT)
students, so that a theory of professional attitudes and professional action
could be developed. The research was building on previous research by the
author, which found that OT students tended to have a maternalistic and
nurturing view of disabled people, and also as a response to issues raised by
the social model of disability which questioned whether OT was an
oppressive or empowering profession. Utilising an integrated methodology,
the research sought to address the following research questions:
what, amongst OT students, is a 'professional' attitude towards
are the attitudes of OT students towards disabled people any
different from those of other students?
do these attitudes change over time?
are there any differences in the 'personal' and 'professional'
attitudes of OT students towards disabled people?
how accepting of disabled people are OT students, would they
be willing to work with disabled people as colleagues?
is there an hierarchy of relationships for people with different
what does the 'professional' attitude mean in practice?
how does this 'professional' attitude develop?
what factors influence its development?
does contact with disabled people have any effect on attitudes?
do OT students express attitudes and values which oppress or
empower their disabled clients?
A case study approach was used with a variety of data collection methods.
The main focus of the study was the collection of data, using a questionnaire
and a series of interviews, from a cohort of OT students throughout the 3
years of their OT degree. The questionnaire included the Attitudes Towards
Disabled People Scale, a suitability for OT training scale, and a semantic
differential exploring stereotypes of disabled people. Data were also collected
from other groups of OT students comparing personal and professional
attitudes and attitudes in terms of social distance, using the Disability Social
Distance Scale. Comparative data was collected from non-OT students. In
order to explore attitudes in greater depth a small group of students was
selected from the main OT cohort and interviewed about their attitudes and
approaches to disabled people at 3 points during their studies. Analysis of
the data revealed that the OT students held highly positive personal and
professional attitudes towards disabled people. These attitudes were also
demonstrated by the use of an empowering, client-centred approach to OT
interventions. However, the OT students had a tendency to focus on an
individualistic and personal tragedy approach to disability. This individualistic
approach might result in oppressive practice. The findings were used to
develop a conceptual framework for OT interventions with disabled people
which should allow therapists to articulate and develop their practice within
an empowering framework.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Occupational therapy -- Study and Teaching, Occupational therapists, People with disabilities -- Care|
|Official Date:||February 1999|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of Sociology|
|Extent:||xi, 477 p.|
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