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Elena Wong Espiritu, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, BCPR; Paul E. Yeatts; Cynthia L. Evetts, PhD, OTR


Background: Doctoral students experience decreased well-being during their educational experience. Self-compassion, engagement in meaningful occupations, and occupational balance positively impact well-being in individuals. This study examined the relationships between these constructs in postprofessional occupational science and occupational therapy students.

Method: This quantitative cross-sectional study collected national survey data (N = 113) using the Self-Compassion Scale – Short Form, the Engagement in Meaningful Activities Survey, the Occupational Balance Questionnaire 11, and the 14-item Scales of General Well-Being. Multiple linear regression analysis determined how well each construct predicted general well-being and the strength of each construct’s relationship compared to other constructs.

Results: The model of combined variables was significant, F(3, 104) = 36.22, p < .001, accounting for 51.1% of the general well-being variance. All predictors were significant, with the self-compassion standardized coefficient beta being largest (β = .39), followed by engagement in meaningful occupations (β = .38), and occupational balance (β = .16).

Conclusion: Self-compassion, engagement in meaningful occupations, and occupational balance predicts well-being in postprofessional students, which is consistent with previously known relationships. The participants’ understanding of foundational tenants of occupational science and occupational therapy may have helped mitigate further decline in their well-being, confirming the power of occupation to positively impact well-being.


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.