Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. JoAnne Wright

Second Advisor

Barbara Hooper

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Meyers

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study looked at an occupational therapist's work with clients from varied cultural backgrounds. Qualitative research strategies and a phenomenological approach were used to gather data through interviews with a single respondent and observation of treatment. This methodology was used to examine the process utilized to acquire cultural knowledge and integrate that knowledge into treatment planning. Research focused on: (a) how the cultural background of a client influenced an occupational therapist as she planned and implemented treatment, (b) how the treatment process was influenced by cultural differences between the therapist and the client, and (c) how training or education helped the occupational therapist better serve cross-cultural clients.

This case illustrated the relationship between consideration of culture and clinical reasoning. It explored the client's cultural background and how it impacted development of the therapist-client relationship. This impact included communication with the clients and the therapist's treatment approach. Cultural differences were apparent in the assessment process and effected treatment outcomes. Results of this study support education focused on skills for providing culturally relevant and individualized care and the development of clinical reasoning skills.