Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Breann Lamborn


Cultural Competency; Occupational Therapy -- education; Professional-Patient Relations


Purpose: This purpose of this study is to determine if the knowledge that is gained in occupational therapy school about working with diverse cultures is continually developed and applied while practicing in the field of occupational therapy.

Methodology: Data was collected from 18 participants in a quantitative survey and 6 participants in a qualitative interview from four Southwestern states.

Results: Results of this study suggest that the therapists who have graduated within the last 20 years have a greater understanding of including a client’s culture to provide true client-centered care in the delivery of occupational therapy services. 50% of the respondents to the survey indicated that they are routinely providing client-centered care and culturally competent care. Out of those 9, 7 had have been working in the profession under 20 years.

Conclusion: Those occupational therapists within the Southwest region of the United States who have graduated from educational programs in the last 20 years are more likely to be aware of the importance of culture in relation to providing care to their clients. 50% of the participants surveyed demonstrated that they understood that providing client-centered care must take into consideration a client’s culture. Results of this survey suggest that cultural competence training is predominantly provided by educational programs, and it is essential that these programs address the skills necessary to provide culturally competent care in light of the demands of clinical environments. Results of the interview indicated that participants recognized that cultural competency allows for stronger rapport with clients. Techniques including interviewing, active listening, and respectful curiosity regarding cultural diversity were critical to successful outcomes. Additionally, facilities must support practicing clinicians in attainment of continued cultural competency to provide a client centered and culturally appropriate therapeutic environment by recognizing diversity needs, providing resources and removing barriers.