Male occupational therapists in Canada: A demographic profile

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Occupational therapy is a predominantly female profession with, for example, only 5.8% of the occupational therapists in Canada being men. Traditionally, there has been limited success in recruiting men into occupational therapy education programmes and those men who do qualify as occupational therapists tend to work in the profession for only short periods of time. The purpose of this study was to examine the demographic characteristics of a group of male occupational therapists. A questionnaire was posted to all male therapists who were members of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (n = 199). Eighty-three per cent of the sample responded.

The survey results indicated several significant findings. Seventy-four per cent of the respondents said that they would end up leaving the profession within 10 years. The top four features of the profession that influenced respondents' choice of an occupational therapy career were the opportunity to work with people, job security and availability, feelings of accomplishment and diversity. On the other hand, the top four factors that contributed to respondents' feelings of job dissatisfaction were limited earning potential, limited upward mobility and opportunities for advancement, lack of awareness by other professionals of occupational therapy's role in health care and the lack of understanding the general public have about occupational therapy.

In terms of demographics, the majority of male occupational therapists were around 33 years old, worked with an adult client caseload in a general hospital setting and spent 50% of their work time in direct client care. Overall, the male occupational therapists in this study were job dissatisfied. If means are not implemented to address this issue, many male clinicians are likely to leave the occupational therapy profession at some point.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-567
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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