Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Occupational Therapy

  • Carolyn Baum
  • Leeann Carey
  • Helene J. Polatajko
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_905



World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) defines occupational therapy as a “client-centered health profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement” (World Federation of Occupational Therapists [WFOT], 2010, para. 1)


Occupational therapy, founded in 1917, has become a well-established profession within the areas of health and rehabilitation with over 60 member countries in...

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References and Readings

  1. American Occupational Therapy Association. (2005). Occupational therapy code of ethics. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59, 639–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carey, L. M., & Baum, C. (2011). Occupational therapy. In N. P. Azari (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of sciences and religions. Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Christiansen, C. (1999). Defining lives: Occupation as identity: An essay on competence, coherence, and the creation of meaning. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 53, 547–558.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Christiansen, C., Baum, C. M., & Bass-Haugen, J. (2005). Occupational therapy: Performance, participation, and well-being (3rd ed.). Thorofare, NJ: SLACK.Google Scholar
  5. Clark, F., Azen, S. P., Zemke, R., Jackson, J., Carlson, M., Mandel, D., et al. (1997). Occupational therapy for independent-living older adults: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278, 1321–1326.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  12. Kielhofner, G. (2004). Conceptual foundations of occupational therapy (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis. Authoritative texts on occupational therapy.Google Scholar
  13. Law, M. C., Baum, C. M., & Dunn, W. (2005). Measuring occupational performance: Supporting best practice in occupational therapy (2nd ed.). Thorofare, NJ: SLACK.Google Scholar
  14. Söderback, I. (Ed.). (2009). International handbook of occupational therapy interventions (1st ed., Vol. 1). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Townsend, E., & Polatajko, H. (2007). Enabling occupation II: Advancing an occupational therapy vision for health, well-being, & justice through occupation. Ottawa, Canada: CAOT Publications ACE. Authoritative texts on occupational therapy.Google Scholar
  16. World Federation of Occupational Therapists. (2010).What is occupational therapy? Retrieved from http://www.wfot.org/information.asp (accessed May 5, 2011).

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn Baum
    • 1
  • Leeann Carey
    • 2
  • Helene J. Polatajko
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Medicine in St LouisWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Melbourne Brain CentreHeidelbergAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada