Lymphedema; Lymphatic system; Breast--Cancer--Treatment--Complications; Exercise therapy; Therapeutics, Physiological


This study examined the degree to which occupational therapy practitioners address psychosocial and quality of life (QOL) sequelae in adult clients with lymphedema resulting from breast cancer treatment. An original survey was sent to 268 practitioners who were listed on the open source contact list on the website of the Lymphology Association of North America. When promoting QOL, respondents indicated that inquiry was the most frequently used assessment and therapeutic exercise was the most commonly reported therapeutic activity. When assessing for psychosocial well-being practitioners reported most commonly using interview, with conversation the most frequently reported therapeutic activity. For both QOL and psychosocial well-being, the most frequent barriers reported were inadequate time and unaware of useful assessments. Both respondents with entry level graduate degrees and less experience reported treating fewer clients, when compared to practitioners with entry level bachelor degrees and more experience, correspondingly. Practitioners with less experience were more likely to report spending an increased amount of time promoting psychosocial well-being. Respondents also indicated that for both QOL and psychosocial well-being the most frequent supports were receptive clients and adequate time. The largest group of practitioners said that they strongly agreed that it was a priority to promote QOL and psychosocial well-being. Practitioners who are interested in learning more about QOL or psychosocial well-being may consider pursuing continuing education in order to learn more about standardized assessments.

First Advisor

George Tomlin

Second Advisor

Martins Linauts

Date of Completion

Spring 2012

Degree Type







Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)

Date of Award



Occupational Therapy


University of Puget Sound

HMBaldwinThesisSpr12p42_48.docx (85 kB)
Appendix B

HMBaldwinThesisSpr12p49.docx (15 kB)

H_Baldwin.pdf (74 kB)
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