Date of Award
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)
The purpose of this descriptive study was to assess the potential role for occupational therapy with youth experiencing homelessness in WA state. Directors, of programs serving youth who have experienced homelessness in the past 12 months and were ages 13-19 years were surveyed. Twenty-two surveys were mailed out and 11 were returned, resulting in a response rate of 50%. Survey respondents were well educated and highly experienced, reporting 6-31 years of experience with youth who have experienced homelessness. Results revealed many life skills and performance areas that pose challenges for the youth as well as areas in which they likely could benefit from further support or instruction. The areas most frequently reported by respondents included stress management, social skills, coping skills, self-efficacy, substance abuse, job skills, and housing status. The majority of respondents reported that their program could benefit from additional funding and onsite training for staff. No respondents indicated that occupational therapists currently serve homeless youth at their program. The results from this study suggest that occupational therapy may be an appropriate profession to help meet the myriad needs youth experiencing homelessness.