Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Renee Causey-Upton

Second Advisor

Dana M. Howell

Third Advisor

Melba G. Custer


For new occupational therapists, finding balance between the demands of work and their personal lives is challenging. The transition from student to practitioner is filled with uncertainty as new therapists try to meet the demands of working in a continuously changing environment. Research describing how new therapists define and experience balance in their own daily lives is currently missing in the literature. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of novice occupational therapists in creating occupational balance while working in the healthcare system. Six novice therapists in their first year of practice were recruited for this study via convenience sampling. Participants took part in semi-structured interviews that were audio-recorded and lasted between 20-30 minutes. Recorded data was transcribed and emergent coding was completed. Eighteen codes were identified and narrowed into two overall themes: achieving occupational balance and developing as an occupational therapist. The implications of this research could be useful in providing better support for novice therapists to promote health, quality of life, and occupational balance.