Student and faculty perspectives on creative thinking across the Master of Occupational Therapy program




Boiselle, Angela

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Elements of creativity have been significant in occupational therapy practice since the beginning of the 20th century (Meyer, 1977; Slagle, 1939). Creative thinking is a context-dependent part of the dynamic process of creativity (Barris, 1978; Schmid, 2004). Occupational therapists use creative thought as a means to identify, define, and develop new or adapted ideas or solutions within practice. Creative thinking is a virtually unexplored construct in occupational therapy literature. Additionally, it is not known if or how creative thinking is fostered in occupational therapy students. The purpose of this study was to serve as foundational research on how Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) students and faculty perceive student creative thinking across the MOT program. This dissertation is comprised of two studies. Study I was a cross-sectional quantitative study based on the self-reflective creative thinking surveys completed by MOT students at Texas Woman’s University (N=136). Study II was a constructionism grounded theory design based on a focus group of MOT instructors (N=5). Several conclusions were reached as a result of this dissertation. First, there were not any significant differences among MOT students across the program regarding their perceptions of creative thinking. Second, a principal component analysis (PCA) resulted in three components that included creative ideation, intrapersonal contexts, and extrinsic contexts. Third, instructors identified three overall theoretical categories that related to student creative thought: student factors, press, and process. Fourth, the Creative Thinking of MOT Students Model (CTOTS) was developed as explanatory model to describe a collective understanding of student and instructor perceptions of creative thinking. The work achieved in this project can serve as a foundational basis for a larger study that may be used for assessment development and/or MOT curriculum design.



Health and environmental sciences, Context, Creative thinking, Creativity, Higher education, Occupational therapy