Credentials Display

Jayme L. Ober, OTD, OTR/L, MSCS; Rebecca S. Newbury, OTD, OTR/L; Jennifer E. Lape, OTD, OTR/L


Background: The Kawa model, a framework to guide culturally relevant occupational therapy, has gained recognition and become more widely used in practice. Research on the model thus far, while still relatively sparse, provides guidance for the model’s use, including its strengths and facets that require further exploration to support its use and effectiveness in dynamic ways.

Method: A scoping review was completed to gather, organize, appraise, and synthesize the current research evidence on use of the model.

Results: Findings support the Kawa model’s culturally flexible application and its capacity to garner client-centered qualitative information, as well as to build therapeutic relationships in a variety of settings. Challenges to the model’s use include therapists’ inexperience limiting effectiveness and the need for additional quantitative assessment measures to supplement the qualitative findings gathered during use of the Kawa. Limitations to this review include author preconceptions, homogeneity among the authors, and inclusion of non-peer-reviewed theses.

Conclusion: The Kawa model is an adaptable tool to examine and enhance well-being. It may be most effective when used by experienced therapists and in conjunction with other relevant tools. Further research is recommended to continue to evaluate its dynamic use.


The authors declare that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.