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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337

Abstract

SWANEPOEL, A  and  VAN HEERDEN, SM. An exploration of the roles and the effect of role expectations on the academic performance of first year occupational therapy students: a University of the Free State case study. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2018, vol.48, n.1, pp.16-21. ISSN 2310-3833.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2310-3833/2017/vol48n1a4.

First-year students in occupational therapy enter higher education and take on different roles while engaging in occupations such as academics, instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) and social participation. Some of the roles are new and pose challenges to students which in turn influence their academic performance. A qualitative research approach was applied by making use of a case study research design to explore possible factors that influence the students' academic performance. Eighteen first-year occupational therapy students from the University of the Free State were randomly selected to take part in the study. Data were collected from documentation and Nominal Group Technique discussions. The aim of this article is to report on some of the significant findings from the initial study, namely the roles students adopt to meet the challenges during their first year at university. Four roles were identified: role of a student, role of an independent young adult, role of a friend and role of a member of a campus residence. The identification of these roles should make educators take note of the need for support to the first-year student on a departmental as well as faculty level.

Keywords : Academic performance; First-year Occupational Therapy students; Occupational engagement; role fulfilment.

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