Publication Date

2018

Abstract

Background/aim Australian accreditation standards for occupational therapy courses require consumer participation in the design, delivery and evaluation of programs. This study investigated whether a mental health consumer – as one of two assessors for an oral assessment in a mental health unit – impacted engagement, anxiety states and academic performance of undergraduate occupational therapy students. Methods Students (n = 131 eligible) self‐selected into two groups but were blinded to the group differences (assessor panel composition) until shortly prior to the oral assessment. Control group assessors were two occupational therapy educators, while consumer group assessors included an occupational therapy educator and a mental health consumer. Results Pre‐ and post‐assessment data were successfully matched for 79 students (overall response rate = 73.1%). No evidence was found of significant differences between the two groups for engagement, anxiety or academic performance (all P values >0.05). Conclusion Including mental health consumers as assessors did not negatively impact student engagement and academic performance, nor increase student anxiety beyond that typically observed in oral assessment tasks. The findings provide support for expanding the role of mental health consumers in the education and assessment of occupational therapy students. Development of methods to determine the efficacy of consumer involvement remains an area for future research.

School/Institute

School of Allied Health

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

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