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Abstract

Graduate students experience high levels of stress, which may hinder their learning. Students may use both adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies, or they may not have acquired strategies to effectively cope with stress. A six week pilot educational intervention based on the cognitive-behavioral model was developed and delivered to second year Master of Occupational Therapy students. The intervention was a structured adaptive coping strategy program designed to educate and increase students’ awareness of adaptive coping strategies and overall well-being. The intervention educated participants on strategies aimed at improving coping skills as measured by the Brief COPE and a Coping Strategy Survey. Authors used a mixed-methods research design. Eleven occupational therapy students completed pre- and post-assessments. Participants demonstrated a 73% decrease in self-distraction and self-blame. Positive-reframing increased by 64% and active-coping increased by 60%. Participants’ response rates for use of religion increased by 64% and use of instrumental support increased by 59%. The use of emotional support increased by 50% and planning increased by 41% among participants. Three themes emerged from the qualitative data analysis. Outcomes suggest occupational therapy graduate students benefit from an adaptive coping strategy program and occupational therapy educators should consider incorporating such a program into the curriculum.

Biography

Ana Rodriguez, OTD, OTR/L is a visiting clinical instructor in the Occupational Therapy Master’s Program at Florida International University. She has 13 years of clinical experience and 7 years in academia. She is a graduate of Chatham University’s post-professional OTD program. Ingrid Provident, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program at Chatham University in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. She has published extensively on occupational therapy education and fieldwork.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

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