Self-identified occupational competencies, limitations and priorities for change in the occupational lives of people with drug misuse problems

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This study investigated self-identified competencies, limitations and priorities for change in the occupational lives of people with drug misuse problems. Thirty people undergoing inpatient drug detoxification completed the Occupational Self Assessment (OSA) version 2.2. Six of these participated in semi-structured interviews focusing on their priorities for change, identified using the OSA.

The OSA results found that the participants identified the greatest occupational limitations with the following OSA items: managing finances; making decisions based on what they think is important; getting done what they need to do; having a satisfying routine; and working towards goals. The items considered most important were taking care of others; being involved as a student, worker, volunteer, and/or family member; and working towards goals. The items prioritised for change were the ability to manage finances; work towards goals; take care of the place where they live; and take care of themselves. The interview participants maintained that a focus on drug use had stopped them from achieving goals and making changes in their lives.

The findings from both the OSA and the interviews drew particular attention to self-care and financial management needs and suggest a rationale for occupational therapy to give meaning, purpose and structure to clients' abstinence-related goals, aimed at reclaiming their lives.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2010

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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