Al Busaidy, Najat Saif Mohammed and Borthwick, Alan M.
Occupational therapy in Oman: the impact of cultural
Occupational Therapy International (doi:10.1002/oti.1332).
Occupational therapy theory and philosophy are broadly considered to be based on Western cultural values. In contrast, the application of theory and practice in the Sultanate of Oman, historically based on traditional Middle Eastern and Islamic cultural values, provides a case exemplar, which highlights both paradigmatic differences and
cultural dissonance. Drawing on the experiences of occupational therapists working in Oman, this study found that the application of therapeutic goals aimed at patient independence and autonomy were difficult to achieve in an environment where family duty and responsibility for care were highly prized. Dressing and cooking assessments were
challenging, and issues related to gender proved problematic. Therapists found the need to adapt practice to acknowledge these differences, and to adopt pragmatic problem-solving strategies, without resolving the underpinning philosophical contradictions. Occupational therapy in Oman is under-researched; further work is needed to confirm the cross-cultural validity of specific assessments and practice models.
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