Publication Date

Spring 4-6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Aniello Trotta

Second Advisor

Laura Bertonazzi

Third Advisor

Grace Sheldon Fisher


Emotional competence encompasses multiple skills and attributes that are essential to success of occupational therapy level II fieldwork. Learning more about the relationship between emotional competence and level II fieldwork success holds implications for occupational therapy students, academic programs, fieldwork educators and recipients of occupational therapy services. The Emotional Competence Theory of Mikolajczak (2009) guided the conceptual foundation of this study. This qualitative study, using a phenomenological approach, explored the relationship between emotional competence and level II fieldwork success from the perspective of fieldwork educators. Purposeful sampling was utilized to recruit the three occupational therapists who serve as fieldwork educators to fieldwork students. Data was gathered through semi-structured interview. Thematic analysis yielded two themes, one, an overarching theme, Emotional Competence: The Crux of Occupational Therapy, which confirmed the centrality of emotional competence to the occupational therapy. The second theme, Critical Influential Factors Support or Impede Success, illustrates the specific behaviors and attributes of emotional competence that are essential to level II fieldwork success as identified by the participants. These behaviors and attributes are represented by seven subthemes. Through data analysis, the themes and subthemes informed three findings: (1) Emotional Competence is Essential to Occupational Therapy (2) Dimensions of Emotional Competence Contribute to Success of Level II and (3) Emotional Competence Should Be Cultivated. The results of this study support the importance of the development of emotional competence throughout the academic and clinical career of occupational therapy students. Recommendations for the development of emotional competence to promote level II success are discussed.


Ed.D. Dissertation



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