Purpose: The purpose of this case-series study was to assess the relationship between three instructional methods that fall within the parameters of the revised Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education fieldwork objective C.1.9 and perceived student competence and confidence in providing therapy services in a behavioral health setting.

Methods: The study included a convenience sample of (n=49) graduate students enrolled in an entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program and a Doctor of Physical Therapy program in the Midwest. The participants attended a presentation on bipolar disorder and were randomly assigned to engage in one of three instructional methods: (a) lived experience academics, (b) problem-based learning, and (c) standardized patients to further learn about bipolar disorder.

Results: Analyses revealed no significant interaction effects on competence across instructional methods but did reveal significant main effects of group and time on confidence. Confidence increased across all instructional methods and exhibited a significant difference between the lived experience academics and standardized patient.

Significance: The study results demonstrate a need for further research on how to best prepare occupational therapy students for behavioral health settings.

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