Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor's Name

Patricia J. Scott

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jyoti Zalkikar

Third Advisor's Name

Reba L. Anderson

Date of Defense



The diversity of ethnic and cultural groups and the effects of language in the therapeutic relationship are timely professional issues of concern to occupational therapy practitioners. The tri-ethnic, tri-cultural South Florida area offers a natural environment where one can study how patient-therapist interactions are influenced by language barriers in a diverse society. This study examines the effects of language on the adequacy of occupational therapy services, specifically how language affects the length of the treatment program. The nature of diagnosis therapists' ethnicity, and how they impact treatment outcomes are also addressed. A sample was drawn from the occupational therapy outpatient department of a large county hospital. Data taken from patients' charts examined race, sex, age, diagnosis, and language. Number of treatment sessions and length of treatment were viewed as proxy measures for adequacy. Findings indicate that the effect of language cannot be understood aside from ethnicity. Implications for occupational therapy practice are discussed.





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