Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


Purpose: The purpose of this Capstone Project was to evaluate the sensory room program used by occupational therapy to determine whether use of the sensory room and the elements within the room reduced perceived levels of distress and acting out and/or aggressive behaviors of patients with mental illness. Methods: This Capstone Project was an outcome evaluation of a routine clinical program using retrospective analysis of existing patient records to ascertain physical aggression episodes, sensory modulation ability, and self-ratings and staff ratings of patient distress levels pre- and post-sensory intervention. Results: Through analysis of quantitative data, the results of the project demonstrated a statistically significant difference in Subjective Units of Distress Scale ratings, reflecting an overall decrease in patient distress levels from time of entry to time of exit of the sensory room. The majority of patients did not exhibit acting out behaviors within 24 hours post sensory intervention. Though there were no significant correlations identified via SPSS data analysis, the patient ACL scores generally indicated less personal insight. Conclusion: Data analysis confirms that the use of a sensory room and sensory-based treatment approaches had positive effects among patients of varied ages, diagnoses, and ACL scores. Outcomes of this study align well with person-centered and recovery-oriented mental health care that supports the patient’s preferences, responsibility and accountability, and oversight of their own recovery.

Faculty Mentor

Shirley P. O'Brien

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Christine Privott

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)