Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Occupational Therapy (M.S.)

Department

Occupational Therapy

Abstract

The following research focused on the factors affecting occupational therapists’ decisions to join, withdraw from, or never join their state association. Data was collected using a mixed methods design consisting of a survey that included quantitative questions and a qualitative question. The survey was sent to 1,908 occupational therapists in Michigan and 497 (26%) were returned and usable. Occupational therapists consistently reported dissatisfaction with their state association. Three themes developed regarding reasons occupational therapists’ decisions about membership: prioritization, interpersonal and group communication, and benefits. State and national association memberships were found to be associated. The greatest predictor of membership was determined to be national association membership which contrasted with past research that identified education as the greatest predictor.

The results of the study supported previous research regarding professional associations and the factors that affect decisions to join them. The results emphasize a distinct desire for continuing education opportunities, new ideas for practice, and an avenue for professional self improvement among occupational therapists in Michigan. Occupational therapists felt these needs were not adequately addressed by their state association.

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