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Objectives: The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox population in America has grown exponentially due to religious intolerance in Egypt. Many Copts move to the U.S. and experience feelings of helplessness because of the stark difference in American culture compared to the culture they had left behind. Occupational therapy (OT) is a profession that can impact the Copts due to the focus on gaining independence in life through participation in meaningful occupations. This qualitative study sought to answer the research question, “what is the current state of occupational engagement for recently immigrated Coptic Christian immigrants, and how can occupational therapy support immigrant populations?”

Methods: Eighteen participants filled out the 9-question open-ended survey discussing overall perceptions about moving to America. The survey data was analyzed based on thematic analysis guided by Braun and Clarke (2006).

Results: The seven overarching themes analyzed were consistent with the literature review conducted about the immigrant experience; participants stated that their experience moving to the US was challenging, and that connections to Egyptian culture are still strong. Participants overwhelmingly stated that services to ease transition into American lifestyle would have been beneficial.

Conclusion: Findings from this study would allow for OTs to expand knowledge about the impact of immigration to the US for minority groups such as the Copts using evidence-based practice. OTs can facilitate the enculturation of the Copts by re-establishing daily occupational routines and educating them on new cultural norms.

Publication Date



University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences


Coptic orthodox, qualitative, occupation, enculturation, acculturation

Medical Subject Headings

Emigrants and Immigrants, Acculturation, Minority Groups, Occupations, Egypt, United States, Occupational Therapy, Qualitative Research


Migration Studies | Occupational Therapy | Race and Ethnicity


Poster presented at the Spring 2021 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on April 15, 2021.

The Role of Occupational Therapy in Supporting the Enculturation and Acculturation Process for Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Immigrants