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Occupational therapists' perceptions of gender – a focus group study
Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ, Dep. of Rehabilitation. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Quality improvements, innovations and leadership in health care and social work. (KILVO)
Linköpings universitet.
Göteborgs universitet.
2010 (English)In: Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, ISSN 0045-0766, E-ISSN 1440-1630, Vol. 57, no 5, p. 331-338Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background/aim: Women and men are shaped over the courses of their lives by culture, society and human interaction according to the gender system. Cultural influences on individuals’ social roles and environment are described in occupational therapy literature, but not specifically from a gender perspective. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how a sample of occupational therapists perceives the ‘gender’ concept.

Method: Four focus group interviews with 17 occupational therapists were conducted. The opening question was: ‘How do you reflect on the encounter with a client depending on whether it is a man or a woman?’ The transcribed interviews were analysed and two main themes emerged: ‘the concept of gender is tacit in occupational therapy’ and ‘client encounters’.

Results: The occupational therapists expressed limited theoretical knowledge of ‘gender’. Furthermore, the occupational therapists seemed to be ‘doing gender’ in their encounters with the clients. For example, in their assessment of the client, they focussed their questions on different spheres: with female clients, on the household and family; with male clients, on their paid work.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that occupational therapists were unaware of the possibility that they were ‘doing gender’ in their encounters with clients. There is a need to increase occupational therapists’ awareness of their own behaviour of ‘doing gender’. Furthermore, there is a need to investigate whether gendered perceptions will shorten or lengthen a rehabilitation period and affect the chosen interventions, and in the end, the outcome for the clients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 57, no 5, p. 331-338
Keywords [en]
activities of daily living, culture, encounter, occupational therapy, social construction
National Category
Occupational Therapy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-13929DOI: DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1630.2010.00856.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-13929DiVA, id: diva2:376696
Available from: 2010-12-13 Created: 2010-12-13 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

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Björk, Mathilda

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