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Ryan Thomure, OTD, OTR/L, LCSW


Stress may play a role in the performance of occupational therapy students during Level II fieldwork, but little research exists regarding the causes of stress or the stress management strategies students use. The objective of this study was to determine factors that contribute to fieldwork-related stress and strategies students use to manage that stress on Level II fieldwork.

Students or recent graduates of occupational therapy or occupational therapy assistant programs who completed at least one Level II fieldwork experience in the previous 36 months were eligible to participate. An online survey was distributed to participants through snowball sampling. The participants were asked to indicate whether they experienced fieldwork-related stress, the causes of that stress, and the stress management strategies used during Level II fieldwork. The strategies were coded as either formal or informal to allow comparison.

Four hundred and thirty-two individuals completed the survey, 426 of whom met the inclusion criteria. Six individuals were excluded because they had not completed at least one Level II OT fieldwork experience. Of the 426 students who met inclusion criteria, 407 indicated that they experienced fieldwork-related stress. Fifteen percent of the responses indicated use of formal strategies to manage stress during fieldwork.


The author declares 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.