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Background: Occupational therapists working in eating disorder (ED) treatment in the United States is an emerging practice area. The main objective of this study was to seek an understanding of the perceived gaps in current adult ED treatment in the United States, from both the perspectives of ED treatment providers and individuals with an ED to discover if there is a role for occupational therapists.

Methods: The design of this study was a convergent mixed methods in which the data was collected through online surveys and recorded semi-structured interviews of ED treatment providers (N = 15) and individuals diagnosed with an ED (N = 40). Braun & Clarke (2006) thematic analysis was used to analyze open-ended survey data and all interview data, while numeric coding was used to analyze close ended survey data.

Results: Both provider and client participants of both the survey and interviews expressed similar barriers to adult ED treatment. There was high interested in potential occupational therapy (OT) services by client participants and high interested in referring clients to OT services by provider participants.

Conclusion: Provider and client participants in the survey and interviews expressed overall dissatisfaction with the current structure of adult ED treatment. There is potential for occupational therapists to make meaningful contributions to adult eating disorder treatment according to both survey and interview data collected from bot client and provider participants.

Publication Date

Spring 4-14-2022


University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences


occupational therapists, adult, eating disorder, United States, participants

Medical Subject Headings

Feeding and Eating Disorders, Occupational Therapy, Delivery of Healthcare, Surveys and Questionnaires


Behavioral Medicine | Occupational Therapy | Psychiatric and Mental Health


Poster presented at the Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences April 12-14, 2022

Exploring a Role for Occupational Therapists in Adult Eating Disorder Treatment