New graduates of Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Programs are challenged with the preparation and successful completion of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) examination. The threat of not passing this exam is intensified due to the cost of the exam and lack of provisional licensing. Anecdotal experience of faculty in an OTA Program supports concern for new graduates as they report feelings of distress and anxiety, as they enter the one- to two-month period prior to the exam. An occupational role shift must occur during this transitional period, as the new graduates are no longer attending classes or performing entry-level skills, as required during Level II Fieldwork. This pilot study utilized quantitative research to understand if health promotion and wellness strategies and self-regulation interventions provided in a seminar format could support self-efficacy of the new graduates. Methodology was developed to achieve maximal construct validity through quantitative analysis using scores on the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES) as a pre/post test measure. Activities of the seminar included the Wheel of Life Balance, a Wellness Action Plan, person-centered self-regulation activities, visual imagery, mirthful laughter, and familiar social connection of the new graduate’s cohort. All activities of the seminar were designed to utilize social cognitive support of the group and promote management of neurophysiological symptoms of distress in attempt to maximize perceived self-efficacy. Pre/post test results indicated a statistically significant change in GSES scores following the seminar. This data suggested that the seminar using health promotion and wellness strategies and self-regulation interventions may contribute to gains in self-efficacy and should be further studied.


Capstone project completed in partial fulfillment of an occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) degree from South University.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Stanley Paul, South University

On-Site Subject Matter Expert: Dr. Tina Gelpi, Keiser University, Fort Myers, FL