Occupational adaptation theory describes a process of internal adaptation. It aims to guide occupational therapy practitioners to facilitate clients’ ability to make adaptations to engage in meaningful activities. This theory emphasizes the interaction between the person and the environment. It states that the person consists of three systems (sensorimotor, cognitive, and psychosocial) that interact with occupational environment (physical, social, and cultural). There are two types of adaptation energy for occupational adaptation; they are primary (active when highly focused on the task) and secondary (active when the task is sophisticated and creative). Adaptive response behaviors are classified as primitive or hyperstable (all person systems are frozen and no adaptive behavior), transitional or hypermobile (random behaviors in person systems), and mature (goal-directed behaviors leading to adaptive response). When there is a press for mastery that results in an occupational challenge, people response to challenge and adaptive response generation subprocess occurs. This subprocess is the place where occupational therapy interventions play an essential part. Internal adaptation is enhanced through using self-selected role and goal to guide intervention. Occupational therapists evaluate clients’ ability in activities and identify facilitating and hindering factors. Intervention planning focuses on enhancing clients’ capabilities in reaching the activity goals. After adaptation response generation subprocess which results in an occupational response, the adaptive response evaluation subprocess evaluates the performance in terms of relative mastery (i.e., efficient, effective, and satisfying to self and society). This subprocess leads to learning and influences performance. Occupational therapists allow clients to interact meaningfully with the environment and to eventually increase internal adaptation capabilities.
Domain of occupation
It aims to provide occupational therapy practitioners with a structure that guides assessment and intervention.
Johnson, J. A. (2006). Describing the phenomenon of homelessness through the theory of occupational adaptation. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 20(3-4), 63-80.