Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sonia Zimmerman


Adolescent; Occupational Therapy -- methods; Self Concept; Spinal Cord Injuries -- psychology


The purpose of this scholarly project is to identify a need and to guide occupational therapists during the treatment of adolescents who have acquired a spinal cord injury. During the adolescence stage, an individual begins to develop a sense of self and sense of direction, as well as formulate values which all contribute to personal identity formation (Erickson, 1968). The manual will guide the occupational therapist to address identity formation through use of the chosen assessments and interventions. It is believed that focusing on aspects of identity formation as experienced in the midst of a traumatic spinal cord injury will foster successful adolescent identity development and a resultant higher quality of life.

A literature review was conducted utilizing the search items “typical adolescent development, identity formation, spinal cord injury, and occupational therapy” in multiple online databases including: CINAHL, PubMed, PsychInfo, Academic Search Premier, OT Search, and Google Scholar. Textbooks and government-based websites were also utilized to obtain additional information.

A manual was developed to guide occupational therapists treating adolescents with spinal cord injuries to foster a positive self-identity. The assessments and interventions chosen are guided by the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO), with the goal of building a strengthened identity, increasing self-esteem, and promoting a higher quality of life. The manual is appropriate for practicing occupational therapists in the inpatient neuro-rehabilitation setting. Prior to full implementation, it is suggested that research be conducted in order to test the clinical significance of the manual. Addressing identity as a part of the treatment for an adolescent with a spinal cord injury is an important aspect of occupational therapy services.