The impact of two modules on first year occupational therapy students’ knowledge and attitudes to the core constructs of occupation

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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

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Introduction: The first year occupational therapy course at the University of Cape Town focuses on developing an understanding of occupation. Two first semester modules form the foundation for this understanding. This study aimed to describe the impact of these modules on first year students’ knowledge of, and attitudes towards, the core constructs of occupation. Methodology: A pre-experimental one-group pre-test post-test design was used with a convenience sample recruited from the 2013 first year occupational therapy class. A self-administered questionnaire was developed for the study based on an extensive literature review and consultation with international occupational therapy experts. Data were gathered before and after participating in the modules. Content and construct validity, test-retest and inter-rater reliability were determined using the expert panel and a pilot test. Data were analysed with STATISTICA. Results: Forty-five (N=60) participants completed pre-test and post-test questionnaires and were included in the analysis. Knowledge improved significantly (p<0.001) between pre-test and post-test, and positive attitudinal changes were noted. Conclusion: Knowledge and attitudes improved after completing the modules suggesting that students were equipped with a sound foundational understanding of the core constructs of occupation.