Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sonia Zimmerman


Adolescent Behavior; Social Behavior Disorders -- prevention & control; Juvenile Delinquency -- prevention & control; Adolescent


Occupational therapists believe social participation is an important aspect of adolescent development. Social participation problems can be linked to mental health diagnoses and delinquency. Adolescents who are court ordered into the juvenile justice system often do not receive the necessary treatment due to lack of resources within the community.

A comprehensive literature review was conducted to gather information regarding social participation aspects in relation to adolescent delinquency and placement within the juvenile justice system. The findings suggest there is more emphasis placed on punishment for adolescents rather than rehabilitation. Interventions used to support rehabilitation are primarily limited to counseling. A need exists for expansion of a handbook titled "Building Bridges", which was developed to present the role of the occupational therapist in addressing the social participation concerns of adolescents in the juvenile justice system.

The goal of this project is to increase awareness of the persistent problems with juvenile delinquency, and to enhance the knowledge and confidence of occupational therapists working with this often challenging population. Occupational therapy services have the potential to assist in the development of adolescent social competence and improve performance of daily occupations.