Aust Occup Ther J. 2021 Sep 10. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12763. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Social participation has been incorporated by occupational therapists in Brazil, and worldwide, as a professional concept to guide practice. The concept has been studied, defined, and constructed from multiple fields of knowledge and can be defined as the social and political involvement of people in social groups and /or public and community spaces. There are different understandings of social participation in occupational therapy and the objective of this study was to explore how Brazilian occupational therapists define social participation in their fields of knowledge.
METHOD: Through application of the Delphi technique, Brazilian occupational therapy academics and professionals who have worked in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, collaboratively responded to an online questionnaire. In the consultation phase, occupational therapists wrote their conceptions about social participation and, in the consensus phase, expressed their opinions and judgements, in order to, in a collective construction, establish a consensus on the definition of social participation.
RESULTS: In the first round of the consensus phase, 38 academics and 27 professionals participated and in the second round, 20 and 14, respectively. Results were analysed quantitatively, through the establishment of degrees of agreement for conceptions arranged in statements. Then, six categories of analysis were built, which identified the multiple ways of understanding social participation: social participation and social interactions, social participation and freedom of movement, social participation as an experience in public and political life, social participation and human activities, social participation and the process of social inclusion, and social participation in the fields of knowledge and practice in occupational therapy.
CONCLUSION: There are theoretical-conceptual differences in the understandings and uses of social participation in occupational therapy that delimit specificity and design the identities of the profession in society. The need to discuss knowledge production, accumulation, and dissemination and practices is debated.
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