Joel Helland & Leah Kasinsky

Life Transitions From An Occupational Perspective

Authors: Joel Helland, Leah Kasinsky, Dr. Susan Forwell, & Katie Lee Bunting

Introduction. Life transitions have been well researched in occupation studies in the last twenty-years [1]. Despite this, only recently has a definition and model of predictable life transition (Predictable Transitions from an Occupational Perspective or P-TOP) been developed that captures occupational implications [2]. Purpose. To form an occupational understanding of the lived experiences of professional entry-level Master of Occupational Therapy students transitioning to practitioners. To use this sample population as a means to prospectively test the P-TOP. Methods. Participants from 2015, 2016, and 2017 graduating classes participated in cohort specific ninety-minute focus groups. Employing interpretive description,  the data was coded according to thematic and interaction analysis. Themes gleaned from the data were systematically compared to the P-TOP to assess fit. Results. Findings offer novel insights into the occupational experience of students transitioning to practitioners; such findings will verify the core components of the P-TOP. Conclusion. This study adds to the breadth of research on life transitions from an occupational perspective, and substantiates the P-TOP as a theoretical framework to understand predictable life transitions unrelated to health within the occupation literature.


  1. Crider, C., Calder, R., Lee Bunting, K., & Forwell, S.J. (2014). An Occupational Perspective of Transition: An Integrative Review. Journal of Occupational Science, 21(3), 1-16. doi:10.1080/14427591.2014.922913
  2. Romanyk, J., Young, T., Lee Bunting, K., & Forwell, S.J. (2016, October). Transition from an occupational perspective: Defining and presenting a model of life transition unrelated to health. CSOS–SSO:USA 3rd joint conference. Portland, Maine, USA. (paper)