Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy


The prevalence of chronic conditions is a growing public health concern in the U.S. The physical, social, and emotional impacts of chronic conditions are exacerbated by social and physical determinants of health, resulting in occupational injustice. This study took place at a free primary care clinic, the Ithaca Free Clinic (IFC), and set out to determine the need for occupational therapy services for the prevention and management of chronic conditions, supports and barriers to clients participating in occupational therapy services, and supports and barriers to providers referring to occupational therapy services. Results of this study indicate that clients with chronic conditions could benefit from occupational therapy to address the everyday impacts of their condition(s). Clients without chronic conditions could also benefit from occupational therapy to prevent the development of chronic conditions. Both personal health beliefs and social and physical environmental barriers impeded clients’ participation in occupational therapy services at the IFC. Referrals to occupational therapy services can be better facilitated by attending to internal barriers specifically at the IFC and educating other health professionals on the scope of occupational therapy. Outcomes of this study add to literature supporting occupational therapy intervention for this population and aid in advocating for this emerging practice area.



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