Participation in occupational therapy research: a literature review

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Participation is a concept that is used and discussed, both within the field of occupational therapy and in other areas. The concept of participation is included in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and the Model of Human Occupation. The aim of this study was to investigate how the concept of participation has been used in studies published in peer-reviewed journals. A literature review was performed using the search terms 'occupational therapy' and 'participation'. Papers published in peer-reviewed journals during the period 2004-2006 were included (n = 38). Content analysis was used when analysing the data.

The results show that interview is the most common method of data collection and that the physical field is the clinical field that is most frequently represented in these papers. Three different categories were identified with regard to how the concept of participation has been used. These were client-centredness (n = 11), involvement in the environment (n = 19) and meaningfulness (n = 23). The three categories represent three dimensions of participation and are interpreted as occurring on micro or macro levels. Further research is needed and this review contributes to this development.


Document Type: Review Article


Publication date: July 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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