Similarities and differences of professional communication skills between undergraduate occupational therapy international students and domestic students: informing academic and practice education

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractOtherpeer-review


Introduction:Effective communication skills are essential competencies for occupa-tional therapy students to master particularly for practice education settings. However,international students are often identified as requiring additional support in social inter-action and communication when completing practice placements. These skills are intro-duced to students during their academic education so as to prepare them for placementand future practice. Hence it is important to understand specifically what professionalcommunication skills are similar and different between domestic and international stu-dents.Objective:To compare and contrast the communication skills of undergraduate occu-pational therapy international and domestic students.Method:study was conducted involving first, second, third and fourth year occupa-tional therapy undergraduate students (N=1242, including 282 international studentsand 960 domestic students). Students’ communication skills were measured using theListening Styles Profile (LSP-R), the Active-Empathic Listening Scale (AELS), and theInterpersonal Communication Competence Scale (ICCS). Multivariate regressionswere used to examine the differences of students’ communication skills betweeninternational students and domestic students, controlling for age, gender, and yearlevel of study.Results:International students’ LSP-R transactional listening and LSP-R critical listen-ing scores were significantly higher than domestic students (P<0.05). Internationalstudents’ had significantly lower scores on all AELS subscales (including sensing,processing, and responding) (P<0.05) and ICCS subscales (including self-disclosure,empathy, relaxation, assertiveness, altercentrism, interaction management, expressive-ness, supportiveness, immediacy, environmental control) (P<0.05).Conclusion:While international students demonstrate strengths in their transactionaland critical listening skills, they also exhibit notable weaknesses in components oftheir listening and interpersonal communication skills, compared to domestic stu-dents. It is recommended that targeted learning opportunities for international stu-dents’ listening and interpersonal communication skills be incorporated into thecurriculum content of academic education programs. This will increase the success ofinternational students completing practice placements and their future practice asnew graduate therapists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2019
EventOccupational Therapy Australia National Conference and Exhibition 2019: Together Towards Tomorrow - International Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 10 Jul 201912 Jul 2019
Conference number: 28th


  • students
  • occupational therapy
  • interpersonal skills
  • practice education
  • fieldwork

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