Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


This small-scale pilot study was developed to examine the perceived occupational balance of graduate occupational therapy students and implement an education and coaching intervention to promote occupational balance for those who have difficulty achieving and maintaining it. Although literature provides many examples of interventions to facilitate stress relief in graduate students, this is the first to address the promotion of occupational balance in this effort, which has been identified as a student-reported need. A sequential explanatory mixed-methods approach was used to obtain quantitative and qualitative data on occupational therapy students’ satisfaction with their balance of activity in all areas of occupation. The impact of that balance on stress levels and occupational satisfaction was examined utilizing an investigator developed scaled survey and The Canadian Occupational Performance Measure. Participants (N=22) were MSOT and OTD students from all academic years of their program. A six-week group education program was implemented. One additional 30-minute individual coaching session was held virtually with each student and the primary investigator to target individual goals. Survey data collected before the start of the educational series and again at its conclusion indicate an aggregate decrease in students’ perceived stress (-.85); an increase in perceived occupational performance (mean +1.26); and an increase in perceived occupational satisfaction (mean +2.10). The desired outcome of the intervention was to provide students with strategies to increase lifestyle balance to help manage some of the stresses of graduate academia, and ultimately increase students’ health and wellness to promote retention and successful completion of graduate education.


Linda Rini, OTD, OTR/L, CLC is an Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Department at Touro University on Long Island, NY. In addition to her occupational therapy credentials Dr. Rini is a Certified Life Coach.

Ingrid M. Provident, Ed.D, OTR/L, FAOTA is a National Education Specialist, for Select Rehabilitation. Dr. Provident has held positions of Program coordinator and Associate Professor at Chatham University and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh PA.

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.