Year of Publication

2011

Date of Thesis

03-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Occupational Therapy

Abstract

Research shows a connection between the time spent participating in activities that are purposeful and meaningful to a person, and his or her mood. Purposeful activity is a core concept in the field of occupational therapy; therefore occupational therapy is a field that can have an impact on one's mood. Individuals who have a disruption in mood, such as those with mental health disorders, are those who currently seek out treatment. One could assume, then, that occupational therapy would be one of these treatments that they seek out; however, the research in this field is limited. This research study was a randomized control study designed to analyze the effect of purposeful activity on the mood of college students who receive psychological counseling. It aimed to understand what types of activities college students define as "purposeful." The population included those who concurrently received services from the Ithaca College Center for Counseling and Psychological Services in Ithaca, NY. By using the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM), the students determined five purposeful activities and recorded them for 10 consecutive days. At the same time, they tracked their mood and wrote any comments they felt necessary. The control group also tracked their mood and wrote comments, but without completing the COPM. The results of this study were determined by calculating a correlation between the time spent on purposeful activities and mood. Results showed that the amount of time had a small but positive effect on one's mood; however, the quality of each activity had an even larger association with mood. This demonstrates that occupational therapy could be a useful tool by helping to analyze the purposeful activities of college students and helping them balance their time and activities in order to have the highest quality of experiences during this time of their lives.

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