An Exploratory Investigation of Undergraduate Students' Perceptions of Cultural Awareness

Authors: Cheung, Yvonne; Shah, Surya; Muncer, Steven

Source: The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Volume 65, Number 12, 1 December 2002 , pp. 543-550(8)

Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists

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As the British population becomes increasingly diverse, cultural differences pose challenges for health and social care workers. The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate occupational therapy students' perceptions of cultural issues and their perceived level of cultural awareness. A self-administered questionnaire was designed to target the occupational therapy students from a university occupational therapy degree course in the North East of England. Fifty-one of the 65 questionnaires were completed. Two questionnaires were returned as address unknown and, therefore, were excluded from the study. The overall response rate was 81%.

The results showed that the students seemed to have a positive attitude towards cultural influences on occupational therapy services. However, a lack of knowledge and skills about different cultures was expressed. The need for more information and education on these issues was emphasised. The findings confirmed that there was a significant negative correlation between the stage of education and training and the amount of exposure to cultural issues in occupational therapy theory. This study offers some insights, which would be beneficial in the development of a culturally sensitive education curriculum and the provision of quality occupational therapy services for people from different cultural commitments.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 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 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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