Document Type (Journals)
Recent worldwide events have led to a dramatic increase in reported levels of anxiety in college students and individuals aged 18-29. If there is currently a marked increase in anxiety and stress responses in college age students and traumatic events negatively impact an individual’s ability to participate in their education, it is reasonable to assume that the occupational disruption that students are currently experiencing negatively impacts their ability to participate adequately in their education. This study explored the impact of trauma on graduate occupational therapy students (OTS) from entry-level programs. A mixed-methods survey was utilized to gain the perspectives of graduate OTS (n=74) currently attending programs in the Northeastern portion of the United States who have experienced acute, chronic, and/or complex trauma. Participants completed an online survey consisting of 26 Likert-style, true/false, and open-ended short answer questions. Results indicate that trauma is highly impactful on all areas of occupation, including education. Additionally, students indicated that they are fearful of stigma when discussing trauma and informing educators of its impacts on education, therefore benefiting from open and communicative educators. Further, results support previous research that trauma influences many aspects of academic performance, such as attention, memory, and volition. The information gathered indicates that educators should be aware of the likelihood of students being impacted by trauma and understand how to successfully support students universally through trauma-informed strategies.
Erin Wells, OTD, OTR/L graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2019 with her Post Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. She is employed as an assistant clinical professor in the OTD program at Western New England University.
Brittany Adams, OTD, MS, OTR/L graduated from Chatham University in 2013 with her Post Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. She is employed as an assistant clinical professor in the OTD program at Western New England University.
Laura G. Wheeler, OTD, OTR/L graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2017 with her Post Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. She was employed as an assistant clinical professor in the OTD program at Western New England University and is transitioning to her new role as a clinical professor at University of Hartford MOT program.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
Wells, E., Adams, B., & Wheeler, L. G. (2021). The Impact of Trauma on Graduate Occupational Therapy Students: Trauma-Informed Implications for Educators. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 5 (4). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2021.050403
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