Dissertation Defense Announcement

College of Education announces the Final Dissertation Defense of

Stephanie Lancaster

for the Degree of Doctor of Education

March 14, 2019 at 3:00 PM in University of Tennessee Health Science Center/College of Heath Professions Dean's Conference Room 

Advisor: Amanda Szapkiw-Rockinson

There is Something in the Air: Effect of a Narrative-Account Podcast on Empathy and Client-Centeredness Among Occupational Therapy Students

ABSTRACT: Empathy and client-centeredness are aspects of professionalism essential to the effectiveness of occupational therapy services. As such, both are considered to be key components of the educational process of occupational therapy students, as highlighted by the integration of both concepts in the standards set forth by the accrediting body of occupational therapy education programs. Additionally, although a host of affirmations and anecdotal accounts support the significance of empathy and client-centeredness in the work of occupational therapy practitioners, there is limited evidence in the literature supporting specific treatments in addressing either in the education of occupational therapy students. In response, an investigation of the effect of a narrative-account podcast on empathy and client-centeredness on occupational therapy students using a post-test only experimental design was conducted. Students in the master's level occupational therapy program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center were stratified by year of study in the program. Participants were randomly assigned to either the treatment group (e.g. those who will listen to a podcasted first-person narrative account of life with a catastrophic illness and be provided with written diagnostic information) or the control group (e.g. those who will be provided with written diagnostic information only). Following a five-week long treatment, levels of empathy and client-centeredness were measured in both groups and compared using the Kiersma-Chen Empathy Scale and the Patient-Practitioner Orientation Scale via post-test. Analyses were conducted using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), with findings, implications and recommendations share to guide occupational therapy educators in facilitating in their students the development of these two attributes of professionalism necessary for effective client care. Keywords: empathy, occupational therapy, education, podcast, client-centeredness