Media is loading

Date of Award


Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Moses Ikiugu, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Second Advisor

Jessica Selland, OTR/L


life skills program, residential treatment center, juvenile youth, occupational therapy, trauma, forensic mental health, adolescent treatment

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


The mental health needs of adolescents and children in the United States are not well addressed. In particular, there is a lack of evidence-based interventions for adolescents in the juvenile justice system to address their mental health needs. The purpose of this 14-week doctoral capstone experience was to develop and administer a theory- and group-based occupational therapy life skills program to improve the mental health of adolescents in an intensive residential treatment center. The program ran for 5 weeks and consisted of 10 sessions of life skills training. I used the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment (ACLSA) (Version 4.0) to measure improvement in the residents’ life skills, and the Child Occupational Self-Assessment (COSA) to assess improvement in perceived competence and importance of basic occupations. I also administered a survey to assess staff perception of the residents’ basic life skills before and after program conclusion. Finally, at the conclusion of the program, I interviewed staff to gather qualitative information about changes they had seen in the residents as they went through the program. I analyzed group session reports using content analysis procedures to determine resident responses to the sessions. There was a significant improvement in residents’ skills in housing and money management following participation in the program, t(9)= 6.18, p < .001. Similarly, daily living and self-care skills improved, Z = -2.536, p = .011, and Z = -2.201, p = .028, respectively. Content analysis indicated a perception by both residents and staff that the program had been effective and engaging. Well-designed research is needed to confirm the above-listed program outcomes.