Research Study OT001: Occupational Therapy Practitioners with Chronic Disabilities – An Online Quantitative & Qualitative Survey

Background

OT Dude is conducting a study exploring the experiences of occupational therapy practitioners with chronic disabilities.

I recently posted about my own disabilities as an occupational therapy practitioner. This post was inspired by some questions that I have seen been asked on the Internet and an insightful conversation I had with another occupational therapist who experienced a similar experience as me. My post regarding this topic received many positive comments from members of the OT community on social media. Occupational therapy students and practitioners shared their experiences, which included some very debilitating mental or physical symptoms that affected their daily functioning. I continue to be inspired and motivated by the occupational therapy of dedicated, passionate, and caring human beings. But I am curious to learn more about how widespread this phenomenon is and its impact on people’s lives.

While I did not conduct a literature review (I intend to after this post and making this survey) on occupational therapy practitioners with chronic disabilities, there probably is a gap in the literature. This is a topic worth researching as occupational therapy work with clients who may have disabilities, but not much is known about the practitioners themselves.

I decided to create an anonymous online survey to gather additional data on occupational therapy practitioners with mental and physical disabilities. The results will be posted and summarized in the future if and once I get enough data.

Throughout my involvement as a researcher with this study, I will be ethical, respect the privacy and informed consent of participants, and follow best-practice qualitative and quantitative research protocols.

The only inclusion criteria is that you are in the occupational therapy profession, either as a current student (or pre-OT), practitioner, educator,  or researcher with a chronic disability (1 year or more), are over the age of 18, and speak english. While I was initially interested in clinicians who practice 1:1 with disabilities, I am also interested in the broader population of occupational therapy professionals in different settings such as mental health, pediatrics, education, and entrepreneurial endeavors. Students are and pre-OT students are welcome to participate in this study.

If you are a statistics nerd and interested in helping me with data analysis, feel free to contact me. My primary experience is with qualitative analysis so quantitative research is my weakness.

Call for Participants

Please consider participating and sharing this survey with your OT friends and colleagues on social media and by word of mouth. Let’s get that snowball effect going with the power of the Internet. Thank you for your interest and participation in this study.

About Research Study OT001

Pending an official title, this research study is also called OT001.

Purpose

To use conduct a quantitative and qualitative survey over the Internet of occupational therapists and students to explore their experiences with having a chronic mental or physical disability.

Recruitment

Participants will be recruited by convenience and snowball sampling over the Internet and by word of mouth.

Procedure

After Jul 20, 2021, the survey will remain open for responses until a considerable amount of responses are received. There is no hard deadline or end date for submission as I cannot anticipate the response rate. The goal is to receive at least 10 responses, but the more the better for a larger sample size. As there is a qualitative component to this survey, I may decide to close recruitment with a smaller sample size due to the involvement of coding and data analysis. Once enough responses are received, the survey will be closed for submission to the public. Existing participants (who submitted a survey response) may opt-out at any time and have their responses deleted from the server and not be published. Data will be analyzed with data processing software (e.g., SPSS, Excel, Dedoose) for statistical analysis and recurrent themes. This will likely take several months if I do not get any additional help. The research will be published along with a literature review, methodology, results, discussion, limitations, and conclusion section on this website, and possibly in a journal as a manuscript.

Commitment

This study will only involve the time commitment spent online filling out this 24 question survey. It can take anywhere from 10 minutes or more, depending on how much you share in the narrative question. After submission of the survey, your commitment to the survey will end. There are no experimental procedures or interventions being performed on anyone in this study.

Risks and Discomforts

  • There may be an emotional risk involved when you fill out this survey, such as a flashback of a traumatic event. This is likely to be rare. Some possible symptoms may include stress and anxiety. In the event of psychological stress or an exacerbation of your symptoms, please take a break or consider withdrawing from the survey. Also, consider seeking medical advice and attention if your symptoms continue and do not resolve.
  • As a mandated reporter, there is a possibility of a legal risk if you disclose any information which requires me to report such information to a legal entity. Examples: child abuse, fraud, or illegal activity. I don’t anticipate this will be an issue for most of you.
  • As this survey is intended to be anonymous or semi-anonymous, there should be no social risk associated with your response such as retaliation from your employer or OT program. Please only disclose what you are comfortable with sharing publically in this research study.
  • There are no physical risks involved.
  • There are no financial risks involved.
  • There are no other known risks to the researcher at this time.

Benefits

The goal of this study is to provide the occupational therapy community and allied health community with knowledge and insight into practitioners with chronic mental and physical disabilities. There may be implications for future occupational therapy research, education, and practice.

Compensation

There is no compensation for participation in this research study.

Disclosures

This study and its researchers have no financial incentives and they are not sponsored by any other 3rd party. Advertisements are excluded from this research study and the survey, but they may still appear on other otdude.com webpages.

Participation

Participation in this research study is completely voluntary and participants may withdraw at any time via our Contact Form. If you close out the survey (in the middle of filling it out), your data will not be saved. Unfortunately, there is no feature to save your unfinished progress and you must complete the entire survey in one submission session. Consider previewing the survey contents and preparing ahead of time before filling it out as this will take some considerable reflection of your condition and past events.

Privacy/Confidentiality/Data Security

In addition to compliance with the Privacy Policy of this website, the researcher will take steps to ensure the integrity, privacy, and security of the data (survey contents) that are transmitted and stored. If private or sensitive personal information is accidentally shared in this survey, it will be audited and eventually deleted (both from the server and local computer of the researcher). Data is processed using Perfect Survey and is stored privately and securely on an encrypted database on our server. Raw participant’s survey responses will not be available to the public but summarized themes and some quotations may be published with any identifying or personal information removed. When all survey responses are received, they will exported for data processing, downloaded locally to a computer, and the raw participant responses will be deleted from the server. The coding and data processing will occur on a local password-protected laptop that is regularly updated and kept locked in a secure private residence. Only researchers will have access to the downloaded data. Researchers will comply with HIPAA procedures for the safe keeping of any personal information and survey responses. No identifying information will be shared in the research as participants will remain anonymous in the published results, e.g., “Participant 1”.

Participants may anonymously or semi-anonymously communicate with the researchers as described in the research withdrawl procedures (see below). E-mail communications will be kept private between the researcher and participant.

Please do not share any information which may identify you,  anyone else, an entity, or their personal information in this survey.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Participants must be aged 18 or older.
  • Participants must be able to submit survey responses in English.
  • Participants must be pre-OT, a current OT student, or an OT graduate.
  • Participants may only answer the survey for themself.
  • Participants are not allowed to submit duplicate responses. If you wish to update, modify, or remove your previous response, please use the Contact Form.

Post-Survey and Follow-up Procedures

Results will be posted on this website. Participants may optionally provide their e-mail address to be notified of the results when they are released. Participants may opt out of this e-mail list at any time. Participants will not be spammed and their e-mail addresses will be secured on a private server and computer and never be sold or shared with any third-party.

The role and responsibility as ‘participant’ concludes at the end of this study. Participants will not be debriefed after taking this survey. If participants experience any discomfort during or at the conclusion of the survey, it is advised that they seek medical assistance. OT Dude and researcher(s) are not responsible for the potential adverse effects of taking part in this study. Participants who wish to withdraw their response from the survey may contact us and supplying their participant password and date of submission.

Accessibility

Although this survey is intended to be accessible on both desktop and mobile, due to how the survey software is displayed, it may have poor text contrast on mobile. Consider taking the survey on a desktop computer or laptop. Another workaround is to temporarily turn on ‘high contrast’ mode in your device’s display settings. Sorry for the inconvenience.

About the Participant Password

Please read this section carefully.

As this survey is primarily intended to be anonymous (unless you provide me with an e-mail address, or use an “anonymous”/”throw-away” e-mail that does not contain your name in the e-mail address), a Participant Password system was implemented. The Participant password is a unique string of characters that is used to identify and associate you with your survey response (just like a password). Without this system, there is no way of knowing which participant submitted which response during the data collection process. The participant password is used in the event that a participant wishes to withdraw their response from the study or omit parts of their response from being published.

Participant Password Instructions for the End of the Survey

Generate a random password for your Participant Password here: https://www.lastpass.com/password-generator

  • Use at least 12 characters
  • Click ‘easy to say’. (This makes it easy for me to recognize your Participant Password in “human-readable format” compared to looking through a random string of characters and symbols.)
  • Copy the generated password to your clipboard (CTRL+C in Windows or CMD+C in Mac) and paste it in the Participant Password field at the end of the survey.

Keep your participant code a secret and safely stored for future reference. Do not use any of your previous “real” live passwords that are in-use on other services, as this will be transmitted to the researchers and is not encrypted and visible in plain-text. It will still be kept secure and private from the public.

I highly recommend that you send an e-mail to yourself (or save this information somewhere) in case you need to reference your Participant Password in the future for support. Example e-mail you can send to yourself:

  • To: [email protected]
  • Subject: OT Dude Research Study OT001
  • Body: Your Participant Code AND the date you submitted the survey.

Withdrawing from the Study

To withdraw your response from the research study, send me a message via the Contact Form with:

  • First Name: Anonymous
  • Last Name: Anonymous
  • Email: Enter your real email. If you wish to remain semi-anonymous, enter a “throw-away” email. If you make one up (that does not exist) and I reply, you will not receive the reply.
  • Regarding: General question or comment
  • Subject: Withdrawl from research study OT001
  • Message: Include your specific request, e.g., “I wish to completely withdraw my response from the research study and have the data deleted.” If you wish to clarify or correct any mistakes, you can mention this in the e-mail. Due to limitations in the survey software, you will not receive a copy of your survey response.
  • Be sure to include your Participant Password AND Date of Submission (MM/DD/YYYY) at the end of the message so that I can find your response and take appropriate action. Allow several days for your request to be completed.

Questions

Feel free to ask me any questions regarding this study before participating by using the Contact Form. Your identity, question, and communication will be kept confidential between us.

Jeffrey Kou, MSOT, OTR/L – Primary Researcher

Participate in the Research Study

Participant Consent *

By proceeding, you agree that you have read and agree to the instructions and disclosures of this research study above, received answers to any questions you asked, and that you are over the age of 18. By agreeing, you also give consent for OT Dude to potentially publish your response in the research results.

#1. What are you currently considered? *

#2. What is your age? *

For demographic information

#3. What is your gender? *

For demographic information

#4. My gender was not listed in previous question.

My gender is:

#5. What is your ethnicity? *

For demographic information

#6. What country are you from? *

e.g., United States

#7. What kind of chronic disability do you have? *

#8. Is your disability(s) diagnosed by a doctor or qualified health professional? *

#9. When did you develop a disability (mental or physical)? *

#10. How long have you been living with your symptoms overall? *

#11. Describe your disability (mental and physical) *

Include any diagnose(s), e.g., PTSD. *Your response may potentially be published. Do not include any identifying information, e.g., names.

#11A. Describe your disability (Continued 1)

(Optional) If you ran out of characters describing your disability in the previous box, you can continue typing in this box. *Ignore this if you described your disability already and do not need any more extra space for your response.

#11B. Describe your disability (Continued 2)

(Optional) If you ran out of characters describing your disability in the previous box, you can continue typing in this box. *Ignore this if you described your disability already and do not need any more extra space for your response.

#11C. Describe your disability (Continued 3)

(Optional) If you ran out of characters describing your disability in the previous box, you can continue typing in this box. *Ignore this if you described your disability already and do not need any more extra space for your response.

#12. My symptoms have affected my: *

Select ALL that apply

#13. What OT job functions have your symptoms affected? *

Please select ALL that apply

#14. Severity for the following symptoms *

If you continue to experience any of the following symptoms, please rate their AVERAGE severity. If you experience none (0), please fill in 1 only star for each symptom. 1 star = none, least severe, or not applicable. 5 stars = most severe.

Pain
Fatigue
Weakness
Anxiety
Burden

#15. Have you ever missed any days from work AS AN OT due to your symptoms? *

Examples: call-offs, leaving early from work, taking PTO

#16. Have you ever missed any days of OT school due to your symptoms? *

#17. Did you ever quit an OT job because of your symptoms? *

#18. Burnout: Do you consider yourself 'burned-out'? *

#19. Impact on your occupations *

Which occupations do you symptoms impact currently or previously in the past? Select ALL that apply.

#20. Do you receive any accommodations or modifications for work or school? *

Examples: modified schedule, reduced hours, extra time

#21. Who knows about your diagnosis or symptoms? *

Select ALL that apply

#22. How do you manage or cope with your symptoms? *

E.g., Mindfulness, Pacing, Energy conservation, Medications

#23. Advice for other OTs

What advice would you give to other OTs who have the same diagnosis or similar symptoms as you? (Do not provide any personal or identifying information as this may be published publicly.)

#24. What is your primary OT practice setting or specialty? If multiple, list them as well.

Ignore this question if you are a student. Examples: SNF, Pediatrics, Acute Care, ARU, Educator

Participant Password – Keep this a secret! *

See instructions (above) on how to generate a random 12 character Participant Password.

What 4 letter occupation begins with the letter P? *

Please verify that you are not a spammer or a bot. Examples of other occupations: Work, Sleep

(Optional) Sign-up for a follow-up notification

Enter your e-mail address if you wish to receive an update of the research results. If you wish to remain anonymous, leave this blank or enter a 'throw-away' email. You will not be spammed and your e-mail will be kept private, secure, and not be sold to any third-party. Opt-out at anytime. Thank you for your interest and time in this research study!

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