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Aust Occup Ther J. 2019 Aug;66(4):428-445. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12572. Epub 2019 Mar 1.

Overview of reviews of standardised occupation-based instruments for use in occupational therapy practice.

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Department of Nursing and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Malaysian Research Institute on Ageing (MyAgeing), Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Occupational Therapy Programme, Faculty of Health Sciences, Centre for Rehabilitation and Special Needs, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Discipline of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Cumberland Campus, University of Sydney, Lidcombe, New South Wales, Australia.



Using standardised instruments is one approach to support evidence-based practice. Referring to systematic reviews is an option to identify suitable instruments. However, with an abundance of systematic reviews available, therapists are challenged to identify an appropriate instrument to use. Therefore, this overview of reviews aimed to summarise relevant systematic review findings about standardised occupation-based instruments relevant for occupational therapy practice.


An overview of reviews was conducted. A systematic search was performed on four databases up to March 2018. Included systematic reviews were analysed for quality using A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews (AMSTAR).


A total of 2187 articles were identified after removing duplicates. Ultimately, 58 systematic reviews were identified that yielded 641 instruments. From those, 45 instruments were selected for appraisal as they met the inclusion criteria of being developed mainly by occupational therapists and were recommended in the summarised findings from the systematic reviews. The instruments were classified according to the following occupation domains: (i) multidimensional, (ii) activities of daily living, (iii) productivity, (iv) social, (v) sleep/rest, (vi) sexuality and (vii) spirituality. No systematic review was identified that specifically focussed on occupations related to school/education, leisure and play.


Certain occupation domains such as activities of daily living, social and sleep/rest received high attention amongst researchers. There is a need for systematic reviews of instruments to measure education/school, play and leisure. Limited numbers of instruments were developed by occupational therapists outside the occupation domain of activities of daily living, and in areas of practice other than children and older people. Nevertheless, this overview can give some guidance for occupational therapists in selecting a suitable occupational therapy instrument for practice.


assessment; evaluation; psychometrics; umbrella review


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