Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Department of Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Greg Larson


discourse, identity, Occupational therapists


University of Montana


This qualitative study uncovered the identity construction of occupational therapists located in two regions of the United States. In utilizing an organizational communication studies lens, it was discovered that occupational therapists possess multiple, conflicting, and intersecting identities. The four central categories that emerged from the data were: Therapist as catalyst of functional activity, Therapist as envoy of profession, Therapist as navigator of bureaucracy, and Therapist as member of interdisciplinary team. Therapist as catalyst of functional activity proves to be the preferred identity of occupational therapists and the subsequent identities work to support or interfere with occupational therapists’ ability to see themselves as a catalyst of functional activity for their patients. This study further problematizes the notion that individuals have preferred identities and the effects this has on identity construction. The examination also provides useful insights for the development of Occupational Therapy as a profession.

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© Copyright 2010 Katherine Elise Lloyd