Lessons learned about occupation-focused and occupation-based interventions: A synthesis using group concept mapping methodology

Kristina Tomra Nielsen, Karen la Cour, Jeanette Reffstrup Christensen, Marc Sampedro Pilegaard, Cecilie von Bülow, Åse Brandt, Hanne Peoples, Hans Jonsson, Eva Elisabet Ejlersen Wæhrens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Introduction: Occupational therapy (OT) is based on the core assumption that humans are active beings through engagement in occupations. Within OT, occupation is typically used as primary means and/or ends i.e. occupation-focused and/or occupation-based interventions are employed. Studies evaluating such interventions are limited.

Objectives: To synthesize experiences about occupation-focused and/or occupation-based interventions. Hence, to identify, organize and prioritize experiences with employing occupation as a core element in OT intervention studies.

Methods: Participants were OT PhD students and researchers involved in studies concerning occupation-focused and/or occupation-based interventions. Group Concept Mapping was applied.

Results: Based on 133 ideas, a conceptual model emerged encompassing two overall dimensions concerning ‘developing interventions’ and ‘planning intervention studies’, respectively. Moreover, ten themes related to one or both dimensions were defined and 94 ideas across clusters had high importance ratings.

Conclusion: Synthesis of participants’ experiences indicates that ‘doing’ as agent of change is a core element of OT interventions. Moreover, a multi-level perspective is needed to reach sustainable changes in doing. Group- and peer-support can work as amplifier for change, and flexibility is important during intervention. Such complex interventions need special design and mixed methods in the development, and evaluation of outcome needs to address occupation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)481-492
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Occupational therapy
  • concept mapping
  • intervention development
  • study planning


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