A Survey of Occupational Therapy Practice in Beijing, China

Yun Shi, Tsu Hsin Howe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is an increasing demand for rehabilitation services in China as a result of the growing number of people with physical and mental challenges, as well as the growing population of older adults. The purpose of this study was to explore the current occupational therapy (OT) resources available in Beijing, China, to serve as the first step in planning the response to increasing demand for OT services from the people of China. Specifically, using the snowball sampling survey method, we explored the work practice, including years of working experience, work setting, weekly work hours, annual income and factors related to job satisfaction among occupational therapists in Beijing, China. A total of 44 occupational therapists currently working in the Beijing area responded to our survey. The results demonstrated that most of the therapists working in Beijing area were young and inexperienced. Despite the fact that the participants had an average age of 31years old and an average of 8years' working experience, 61.4% of therapists were under 30years old and more than half of therapists had less than 5years of OT experiences. Among those included in the study sample, 50% had earned degrees in OT, and the rest of the OT personnel received OT-related on-the-job training in various forms and lengths of time. A majority of the participants worked in hospital settings with adults or children with physical disabilities and used therapeutic activities and therapeutic exercises. Being an occupational therapist is not a high-paying job. Education satisfaction, work experience and annual income are the factors related to job satisfaction for the participants. The majority of occupational therapists expressed the need to receive more support for clinical-related trainings. We plan to expand this pilot study nationwide to gain an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the OT workforce in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-195
Number of pages10
JournalOccupational Therapy International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Needs assessment
  • Occupational therapists
  • Survey study
  • occupational therapy workforce
  • occupational therapy
  • rehabilitation services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy


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