Attitudes toward rehabilitating inmates among occupational therapy students in the United States

Academic Article


  • Purpose: This study was to examine occupational therapy (OT) students' attitudes toward rehabilitating inmates and validate an instrument used to measure their attitudes. Methods: OT students (n=128) from one university in Alabama, United States, completed an online survey exploring their attitudes toward rehabilitating inmates, which was assessed using the Rehabilitation Orientation Scale (ROS), a 7-point scale. Dimensional structure, internal consistency reliability, construct validity, and relations to other variables of the ROS was evaluated using factor analyses, Cronbach's alpha, known-groups method, and univariable correlations, respectively. Results: Unidimensionality of the ROS was confirmed with an alpha coefficient of 0.90. The mean ROS score of the respondents was 5.1; a score toward 7 indicated a more supportive attitude. About 60% of the respondents reported supportive attitudes (i.e., an ROS score ≥5). Respondents' ROS scores were significantly higher than those of the public and criminal justice professionals. Female students reported a more supportive attitude than males. Multiple regression analysis indicated that respondents' consideration of working in prison settings after graduation and their perception that OT has a role in prison settings were significantly associated with support for rehabilitating inmates, after controlling for gender and an acquaintance with someone who has been incarcerated. Conclusion: Results indicated that the ROS demonstrated adequate psychometric properties as it applied to this population. The majority of respondents reported supportive attitudes toward rehabilitating inmates. Consideration of working in prison settings after graduation and the perception that OT has a role in prison settings were 2 independent factors associated with respondents' attitudes toward rehabilitating inmates.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tucker SC; Yuen HK
  • Volume

  • 16