Occupational Therapy Program Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type



Effectiveness of two different occupational therapy interventions with individuals with multiple sclerosis : a randomized controlled trial

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy

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College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Supported by a research grant from the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, this randomized controlled trial was designed to compare the effectiveness of two occupational therapy interventions and a social activity intervention on the lives of people with multiple sclerosis. A multi-group pretest-posttest control group design was used to test the hypothesis that there would be a difference in impact between an occupational therapy rehabilitation intervention, a social activity intervention, and an occupational therapy wellness intervention on the occupational performance, quality of life, and general health status of people with MS. Multiple sclerosis affects approximately 350,000 Americans. It potentially limits occupational engagement in activities, roles, and meaningful participation in society. The economic impact both to the individual and to society is estimated to be 6 billion dollars annually. The literature described traditional occupational therapy (OT) practice for this population and highlighted some limitations of studies measuring the outcomes of traditional rehabilitation approaches. The literature suggested that health promotion and wellness approaches hold promise to improve health and quality of life for people with MS. Therefore, in an effort to contribute to evidence-based occupational therapy practice, two different occupational therapy interventions were developed: one based on the rehabilitation and biomechanical frames of reference and the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) and the other, a wellness intervention, based on the Person Environment Occupational Performance Model (PEOPM) and the MOHO.

Participants were recruited from MS membership organizations. Those who met the inclusion criteria and who elected to participate in the study were randomly assigned to one of the two occupational therapy interventions or to a social activity control group. The Occupational Self Assessment, the SF-36, and the Quality of Life Inventory were administered at the beginning and upon completion of 10 sessions held weekly. The results suggest that both of the occupational therapy interventions used in this study can have a positive impact on the health and well-being and quality of life of people with MS, as compared to a social activity group. The researcher concluded that further occupational therapy research is needed that addresses quality, of life outcomes for people with MS and that other methods of assessing occupational performance outcomes need to be explored. A number of theoretical frameworks and models both within and outside the occupational therapy profession are recommended to guide the development of occupational therapy practice and outcome studies for this population.


Occupational Therapy


Health and environmental sciences, Interventions, Multiple sclerosis, Occupational therapy, Therapy

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