Date of Award
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Anne M. Haskins
Problem Statement: The experience of being a male in a female-dominated profession has not been well researched or documented through either an inductive or deductive lens in regards to how this social context affects the male occupational therapist’s ability to function in his professional role. Subsequently, there are a dearth of guideposts and evidence that male occupational therapy students and practitioners have to understand the influence of their gender in the profession from a professional development standpoint.
Purpose: The purpose of this research study was to understand the experience of being a male occupational therapist amidst the female-dominated field and provide evidence that can be used to inform the occupational therapy profession about this minority population. The study outcomes contribute to the scarcely documented experience of being part of a profession in which a gender discrepancy exists.
Methods: A phenomenological qualitative research design using semi-structured interviews was completed to explore the experience of male occupational therapy practitioners at various stages of the career. Six participants were selected using purposive sampling. Prior to completion of interviews, IRB approval was obtained. Researchers read the informed consent to participants, who ultimately gave verbal agreement to partake in the study.
Results: Themes that emerged were: (1) Personal Fit (2) The Male Advantage (3) Rolling with the Punches (4) Castration of Men in Society (5) The Effect of Unique Experience. Within these themes, positive and negative factors, sociocultural influences, and personal aspirations were found to impact the experience of being a male practitioner. These findings compounded to guide and represent the males’ overall perspectives regarding their experiences, which led to advice they felt would be beneficial for future male practitioners.
Conclusion: In this phenomenological study, the experience of being a male occupational therapy practitioner was explored through the lens of six participants at various career stages. Participant feedback reinforced that a unique experience exists regarding males in the field of occupational therapy. These findings provide information about the experience of male practitioners that can be used by the profession to understand an important part of its workforce.
Bohn, Zachary and LeClerc, John, "The experience of being a male occupational therapy practitioner at varying points in the career: A qualitative study" (2018). Occupational Therapy Capstones. 375.