Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Janet Jedlicka


Adaptation, Psychological; Attitude of Health Personnel; Disasters; Health Personnel; Life Change Events; Occupational Therapy; Resilience, Psychological


OBJECTIVE. This study explored the experiences of occupational therapists who have lived through a natural disaster within the last five years.

METHOD. Researchers conducted a literature review and developed a semi-structured interview using the Person Environment Occupation Performance (PEOP) model as a guide. Six occupational therapists (1 male and 5 females) were selected using convenience and purposive snowball sampling. Each participant was interviewed one time. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and data was analyzed using an open coding system.

FINDINGS. Following the data analysis process, four categories were identifies. These categories included personal experience, environmental influence, social experience, and professional experience. Two final assertions emerged from the data. The first assertion is that the floods affected the occupational aspects of the participants’ lives personally, environmentally, socially, and professionally. The second assertion is that the participants’ identities as occupational therapists influenced the way in which they responded to the disruptions in their lives. Natural disasters impact all aspects of individuals’ lives. Occupational therapists have the skills and knowledge base to assist individuals in recovering from natural disasters. Additional research is needed to further develop and support the role of occupational therapy in natural disaster relief.