Incivility in the Occupational Therapy Workplace: A Survey of Practitioners

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The American Journal of Occupational Therapy








Importance: Incivility in health care settings has detrimental effects on practitioners’ well-being, patient outcomes, and health care costs.
Objective: To explore the prevalence and types of perceived incivility experienced by occupational therapy practitioners in their workplaces and the relationships between perceived incivility and practitioner demographics.
Design: Cross-sectional, online survey.
Setting: Surveys were posted to occupational therapy social media sites.
Participants: Occupational therapy practitioners throughout the United States.
Outcomes and Measures: The Negative Acts Questionnaire–Revised (NAQ–R) was used to measure incivility and bullying. Participants answered demographic questions, and one-way analyses of variance and t tests were used to examine differences between demographic characteristics and mean scores on the NAQ–R.
Results: A total of 1,320 practitioners completed the survey. Although the incidence of incivility was low compared with prior research in other health professions, 11% of respondents reported being victims of bullying in the workplace. Practitioners with less experience and who worked in long-term care and skilled nursing settings were more likely to experience incivility, and occupational therapy practitioners experienced significantly less incivility than occupational therapy assistants.
Conclusions and Relevance: Practitioners, colleagues, managers, and organizations must collaborate to foster an environment of civility and respect to mitigate the effects of incivility on patient outcomes, practitioners’ well-being, and health care costs.
What This Article Adds: This survey provides baseline information regarding incivility experienced by occupational therapy practitioners, an important first step in developing evidence-based interventions to promote safe and healthy workplaces.


bullying, incivility, occupational therapists


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Occupational Therapy