Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


There is mixed evidence on the effectiveness of educational approaches that address empathy and client-centeredness in occupational therapy (OT) education. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of listening to a personal narrative-account podcast on empathy and client-centeredness in OT students. An experimental, posttest-only control group design was used. Master’s degree level OT students were stratified by year of study and were randomly assigned to either an intervention group or control group. Following a 5-week educational intervention, levels of empathy and client-centeredness were measured and compared using the Kiersma-Chen Empathy Scale and the Patient-Practitioner Orientation Scale via post-test, respectively. Analyses were conducted using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). Results of the MANOVA demonstrated no statistically significant difference between the students who participated in the intervention versus the control on the combined (or linear combination of) dependent variables, Wilks' Λ = .96, F(2.34) =.71, p =.499 partial η2 = . 04. There was no statistically significant difference in using a combination of written diagnostic information and a first-person narrative account podcast as compared to written diagnostic information only on OT students' overall level of empathy and client-centeredness. As the results of the MANOVA were not significant, post hoc analyses were not conducted. Implications and recommendations are shared to guide OT educators in facilitating in their students the development of these two attributes of professionalism that are vital for effective client care.


Stephanie Lancaster, EdD, OTR/L is the Program Director and Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee Science Center. Prior to joining the faculty in the Department of Occupational Therapy at UTHSC in 2013, Dr. Lancaster practiced clinically as an occupational therapist in the Memphis area for 22 years and developed a specialty in assistive technology. Her doctoral level dissertation work was around the topics of empathy, client-centeredness, and podcasting.

Anne Zachry, PhD, OTR/L is Chair and Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee Science Center. Prior to joining the UTHSC Occupational Therapy faculty in 2013, she practiced as an OT for over 20 years in a variety of pediatric settings, including early intervention settings and the public school system.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.