Document Type (Journals)
Compared to women, men are less likely to become occupational therapists (OT). To have a more diverse workforce, and to relate to various patient groups, reasons men do not enter the field of OT must be better understood. Our study compares men and women in their familiarity with OT and desire to work in the field. Data were gathered using an online, self-report survey administered to students at a public university in the southeast. The sample included 334 undergraduate students who were in majors that often serve as feeder programs to OT graduate programs. The average age was 19.8 years (SD = 3.84). A majority of the students were women (80.1%). Ratings of familiarity with OT or interest in OT were generally low, with no significant differences between men and women. Women were more likely to endorse a calling orientation (i.e., work brings fulfillment to life) to their work, while men were more likely to endorse a career (i.e., advancement indicates achievement) or job orientation (i.e., the job is a means to an end). Career orientation predicted a greater interest in entering healthcare for men, but not women. More broadly, men and women may be interested in healthcare for different reasons, and this information needs to be utilized in marketing the profession.
Alexandra I. Zelin, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Her research interests are around gender, diversity, and sexual harassment in and outside of the workplace.
Erin Melhorn, OTD, OTR/L is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Her research interest are interprofessional education and increasing understanding of the role of occupational therapy.
Kristen Jennings Black, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She studies Occupational Health Psychology, with specific interests in workplace stress, high-stress work environments, meaningful work, and resources to promote worker health, safety, and well-being.
Nicole Harty, OTD was a graduate student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga at the time of this study. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in health care and recently completed her Occupational Therapy Doctorate.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest
Zelin, A. I., Melhorn, E., Black, K. J., & Harty, N. (2022). Not Just Women’s Work: Recruiting Men to Occupational Therapy. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 6 (3). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2022.060301
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