Occupational Therapy Program Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy

Copyright Statement

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College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department

First Advisor

Ricardo C Carrasco

Second Advisor

Gustavo A Reinoso

Third Advisor

Catherine Backman

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Parents of children with disabilities are often not the focus of intervention in occupational therapy practice although they are known to spend more time meeting the needs of their children and report poor occupational balance. The aim of the dissertation study was to compare the occupational balance among parents of children with disabilities and parents of typically developing children and to find, if any, significant predictors of occupational balance. The secondary objective was to investigate if there was any association between occupational balance and family quality of life. To fully understand the multiple perspectives of occupational balance and the factors associated with it, existing literature was reviewed at the commencement of the dissertation study. A cross-sectional observational comparison design was used. There were 178 participants and 89 parents of children with disabilities attending occupational therapy clinics in two major hospitals in Qatar and another 89 parents of typically developing children from the staff and relatives of the same hospital were recruited through convenience sampling. Sample size was estimated from a pilot study with 30 participants. The participants filled the occupational balance questionnaire, Family Quality of Life Survey–2006 and an investigator-developed demographic survey. Both Arabic and the English-speaking parents were recruited, collection forms were made available in English and Arabic. Before the commencement of the dissertation study, the occupational balance questionnaire was translated from English to Arabic.Independent t tests, Pearson correlations, and multiple regression analyses were used to analyze the data. The results showed that the occupational balance scores of parents of children with disabilities were statistically significantly lower than parents of typically developing children. A statistically significant, weak to moderate relationship was found between occupational balancescores and family quality of life scores, Finally, regression analyses showed that role satisfaction,spousal support, number of children under 5 years of age, difficulty finding help, and satisfaction with health care were significant personal predictors of occupational balance in addition to presence of a child with disability in the family. Parents of children with disabilities are a risk group for experiencing low occupationalbalance, and occupational therapists working with such parents must routinely address these issues in their practice to facilitate better family quality of life.


Occupational Therapy


Family quality of life, Occupational balance, Parents