Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Project Chairperson

George Tomlin

Second Advisor

Renee Watling


chronic ear infections, otitis media, children, social skills, attention, behavior


Doreen Hunt, MA, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist at Children's Therapy of Woodinville, an outpatient pediatric clinic. She served as the primary collaborator with three University of Puget Sound occupational therapy (OT) doctoral students to address the research question, "How are chronic ear infections (otitis media) in early childhood associated with children's behavioral outcomes and social development?" A literature review identified 29 relevant articles which led to establishing themes of social skills, attention and behavior. Strong evidence indicates an association between chronic ear infections and social skills. However, due to mixed evidence, no clear associations could be found between chronic ear infections and attention or behavior. The authors identify a need for more rigorous studies in future research about the developmental impacts chronic ear infections may have on children. Knowledge translation for this project included delivering an in-service presentation to therapists at the collaborator's clinic, and creating two handouts, one for clinic practitioners and another accessible version for client families. Pre- and post-presentation surveys were administered to compare practitioner knowledge before and after the presentation regarding the impacts chronic ear infections may have on children's social development and behavior. The handouts will be available within the clinic moving forward for informing employees and affected families. Future emphasis should be placed on increasing OT's role in addressing potential behavioral and social impacts children may experience due to chronic ear infections.

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