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Throughout the years, youth participating in violence has become an increased concern around the nation as there is an increase in media outlets displaying tragedies, such as mass school shootings caused by students. The at-risk youth population is a specific population disadvantaged in engaging in safe and health-promoting activities due to limited resources or opportunities. As a result, at-risk youth make decisions based on their disadvantaged environment (Farajzadegan et al., 2018; Gallagher et al., 2015a). Factors including socioeconomic status, social support from family or friends, and mental health impact an individual’s opinions, attitudes, and interests as well as their occupational choices. When one or more of these factors are lacking, it may hinder both social participation and self-regulation skills. Poor social participation and self-regulation skills impair initiating and maintaining positive relationships and the ability to cope and adapt to the social environment. When constantly faced with traumatic or significant life challenges, at-risk youth are more likely to have lower self-efficacy or beliefs in their capabilities (Burger & Samuel, 2017). Occupational therapists can further develop social participation and self-regulation skills. However, they are underutilized on intervention teams for the at-risk youth population despite their trained background in mental health. Therefore, the purpose of this capstone project was to implement an occupation-based program to improve social participation and self-regulation skills in at-risk youth to prevent youth violence and decrease maladaptive behaviors.

Publication Date



University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

Medical Subject Headings

Violence, Adolescents, Mental Health, Self-Control, Social Participation, Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy | Other Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology


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

Occupational Therapy in Youth Violence: An Occupation-Based Program for At-Risk Youth