The Competence of Mental Health Occupational Therapists

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This research sought to investigate the self-perceived competence of mental health occupational therapists in Queensland. The research is a post-hoc analysis of survey results that formed part of the 1995 Professional Development Strategy for Adult Mental Health Services for the Queensland Health Mental Health Unit. A sample of 55 occupational therapists was compared with other professionals in relation to both general self-efficacy and efficacy in specific competencies. The devised scale for measuring self-efficacy was found to have a high level of internal reliability.

The results indicated that the general self-perceived competence of occupational therapists for the whole sample was comparable to that of other professional groups, but that in the community-based sample it was significantly higher than that of social workers or nurses. In addition, occupational therapists in community settings had significantly higher general self-perceived competence than occupational therapists in hospital locations. Greater length of experience in mental health was strongly predictive of higher levels of competence for occupational therapists than for other professionals.

The results suggest that occupational therapists have adapted well to the demands of multidisciplinary community practice. The possible reasons for these results, and the implications for competency-based recruitment and training, are presented.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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