African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Mental health care users with major depressive disorders: Initial outcomes of an occupational therapy group programme

E.M. Ramano, M. de Beer, P.J. Becker, J.L. Roos


Treating mental health care users (MHCUs) with major depressive disorders (MDD) require an inter-professional health team approach that includes occupational therapy. The MHCUs with MDD in psychiatric wards at two private general hospitals followed a standard occupational therapy group programme as part of a treatment plan. The efficacy of this occupational therapy group programme in hospital settings has hardly been previously investigated. This study measured the outcome of a standard occupational therapy group programme on the cognitive, performance and affective functioning components of MHCUs with MDD. The study was conducted in the Occupational Therapy Department at the University of Pretoria. Thirty- five MHCUs with MDD voluntarily participated in nine 90-minute occupational therapy group sessions over a two-week period. A quantitative one group pre-test-post-test study design was employed. The 35 participants were evaluated using The Bay Area Functional Performance Evaluation-Revised (BaFPE-R) prior to and following on a two-week occupational therapy group programme. T-test analysis revealed significant improvements in the pre- to post-testing mean score (p<0.001), in the following variables: cognitive (10.0), performance (7.6) and affective (6.3) functioning component scores. The standard occupational therapy group programme had a positive outcome on MHCUs with MDD’s cognitive, performance and affective functioning components. It was concluded that occupational therapy group programmes could improve longterm recovery from MHCUs with MDD. Future studies with larger samples sizes and control groups are needed to accurately assess the benefits of occupational therapy programmes in South African psychiatric settings.

Keywords: Major depressive disorder, occupational therapy groups, cognitive functioning,
performance functioning, affective functioning.

AJOL African Journals Online