Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sarah Nielsen


Adolescent; Life Change Events; Mentally Ill Persons; Students; Young Adult


Objective: To examine the available evidence for interventions within the scope of occupational therapy for students with mental illness during the transition process to postsecondary education. Method: This systematic review yielded seven articles including two systematic reviews, three one group pretest/posttest design, one naturalistic pre/posttest design, and one scoping review related to the transition process to post secondary education.

Results: Occupation-based interventions emphasized the occupation of education instead of focusing on co-occurring occupations a student may frequently participate in when enrolled in postsecondary education. Programs emphasized environmental approaches including using the students' past experiences, building self-advocacy skills, accessing supportive education services, and learning how to access environmental supports, such as welfare and food stamps. Performance skills were addressed to prepare students for academic participation and included: motor, process, social interaction skills, skills related to writing, reading, public speaking, social participation, and stress management. Performance patterns included the roles and routines of the student. Findings have limited generalizability due to lower level research designs and limited number of studies.

Conclusions: Higher-level research designs need to be completed to develop best practices in transition services, to further expand occupational therapy's role in helping students with any mental illness transition to postsecondary education.