Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sarah Nielsen


Adolescence is a period of time filled with many transitions. The transition from elementary to middle school comes with new academic, social, and environmental demands. Currently, adolescents often lack the skills and the support necessary to cope with these demands, leading to an increase in mental health challenges (Moksnes, Lohre, Lillefiell, Byrne, & Haugen, 2016). While there are many school-based interventions designed to support students throughout this difficult transition, many environmental barriers exist which prevent the effective implementation of these interventions. One category of barriers is the lack of school resources. Although there is significant positive research on social emotional learning (SEL) programs, there is still a gap regarding how to effectively translate these programs into the school settings, which is partly due to the limited school resources available (Dowling, Simpkin, & Barry, 2019). The purpose of this project was to identify and analyze supports and barriers to assisting students in transitioning from elementary to middle school. An analysis of the supports and barriers was completed using an occupation-based model. Additionally, the role of the occupational therapy practitioner was considered during the analysis. An extensive literature review on the identified population and factors affecting the population’s mental health and academic success during transition was conducted. Several databases were used during review: CINAHL, PubMed, Google Scholar, and OT search. To guide the design of this product, the Ecology of Human Performance Model (EHP) and the information gathered from the literature review were both used. To address the identified barriers in implementing effective interventions into middle schools, an educational resource was developed for educators and mentors of middle schoolers. The resulting product presents an analysis of the issue with several potential solutions. Additionally, one product was developed in detail. Titled “Facilitating Successful Transitions to Middle School,” this product is a resource and topic guide created to bridge the gap between current literature and successful implementation of adolescent advisory programs. Included in the guide is a link to a completed module which addresses the topic of roles and routines in middle school adolescents. These resources were created to be used by occupational therapy practitioners, educators and mentors who facilitate adolescent advisory programs.