Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Anne M. Haskins


Motivation; Occupational Therapy -- methods; Spinal Cord Injuries -- psychology; Spinal Cord Injuries -- rehabilitation; Young Adult


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), males account for approximately 80% of those who endure a spinal cord injury (SCI). Most newly diagnosed clients with spinal cord injuries are between the ages of 15-35 years (50%-70%) (CDC, 2010). Occupational therapists often work with clients who have sustained a SCI. It is in the best interest of the profession and our clients to address the psychosocial impact motivation can have on clients' recovery.

According to authors of research, a major problem to participation in treatment with clients who had a spinal cord injury was a lack of motivation (Chan et aI., 2000; Craig et ai., 2009; Kennedy, Evans, & Sandhu, 2009; Lohne & Severinsson, 2004). Due to clients' possible decrease in occupational participation following a SCI, motivation may be a barrier to recovery. There is limited research in occupational therapy regarding the use of motivation for clients with SCI as an intervention tool. In one study, Wahman, Biguet, and Levi (2006) indicated that motivation is a key factor in increasing client participation in activities. By engaging in activities clients are either improving or maintaining health and preventing secondary conditions.

The purpose of this project was to develop a guide to address motivation in young male clients following spinal cord injury (SCI). Historically, there has been little research that addressed motivation in relationship to engagement in occupations following SCI. For the purposes of this project, the authors examined the role motivation has in recovery of SCI for young male adults and developed an occupational therapy guide to address client motivation.

A comprehensive literature review was conducted to explore the physical and psychological effects of clients who sustained a SCI. Furthermore, the authors conducted a theoretical review and explored literature that addressed the role of motivation in clients who sustained a SCI. Currently, there is limited research and programs available that specifically addresses motivation in clients engaging in SCI rehabilitation.

Therefore, an occupational therapy guide was developed for occupational therapists working with young male clients who sustained a SCI. This guide was developed using the theoretical concepts of the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) and Occupational Adaptation (OA). The guide will direct clinicians to use motivational concepts as intervention strategies. This will give occupational therapists a resource to utilize when motivation is a ban-ier to client participation in meaningful occupations. By motivating a client with SCI, his participation in meaningful occupations increases. In return, young male clients with SCI have an improved quality of life. The development of this guide follows the occupational therapy process: assessment, intervention, and outcome measures.

Previous evidence from authors of research indicated the benefits of addressing motivation. In return, a clinician's guide for occupational therapists to address motivation in SCI recovery will increase clients' participation in activities to increase overall quality of life.