Three Subprocesses of Occupational Adaptation

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Three Subprocesses of Occupational Adaptation

Three Subprocesses of Occupational Adaptation
Three Subprocesses of Occupational Adaptation

The broader process described within the personoccupational environment interaction is comprised of three subprocesses (also called stages of adaptation): adaptive response generation, evaluation, and integration. Each subprocess has several components, making the entire process of adaptation exceedingly complex.

1. Adaptive response generation subprocess: Anticipates the necessary components of an adaptive response. Three mechanisms are involved in this subprocess, all of which occur simultaneously to produce an adaptive response gestalt:

a. Adaptation energy: People use energy at either the primary or secondary level. This concept came originally from Seyle’s research on stress responses (1956).

i. Primary level requires a great deal of cognitive effort and attention.

ii. ii. Secondary level: Cognitive processes continue to work on solving a problem even when the person is engaged in nonrelated activities.

b. Adaptive response modes: When presented with an occupational challenge:

i. Existing responses within the person’s repertoire are tried first, and if they fail,

ii. Modified responses are attempted, and if they fail,

iii. New responses may then need to be created

c. Adaptive response behaviors: Consist of a classification system adapted from Gilfoyle, Grady, and Moore’s (1990) spatiotemporal adaptation frame of reference. Response behaviors, again selected from an internal repertoire, may be:

i. i Hyperstabilized: Continuing to attempt the same solution regardless of outcome. These are also called primitive response behaviors.

ii. Hypermobile: Moving rapidly from one response to another with no positive outcome, also called transitional responses

iii. Mature: Stable, goal-oriented, focused, new behaviors generated with high creative energy and having a higher probability of positive outcome (DeGrace, 2007).

d. Adaptive response gestalt represents the entire process of response generation, which eventually results in a planned response. When the person carries out the plan, the result produces an observable occupational response (Schultz, 2014).

2. Adaptive response evaluation subprocess: Occurs when the person evaluates the quality of the occupational response, which OA refers to as the “experience of relative mastery” (Schultz, 2014, p. 532). The judgment of mastery is relative because it represents an internal, highly personal experience, not directly observed or measurable by others. The evaluation of relative mastery reflects the following self-judgments. If the resulting judgment is positive, there is little need for further adaptation.

a. Efficiency

b. Effectiveness

c. Satisfaction to self d Satisfaction to others If the judgment of relative mastery is positive, there is little need for further adaptation. If the person’s evaluation uncovers problems, the adaptive response integration subprocess is activated in order to generate an alternate or modified response.

3. Adaptive response integration subprocess: Activated when the person’s judgment of relative mastery is unsatisfactory. This prompts the individual to try different or new responses to the same occupational challenge and try to produce a better outcome. Integration involves the following reflective processes:

a. Overall evaluation of the occupational event and the experience of relative mastery,

b. Recalling the event and perceived need for change, and

c. New learning or knowledge about the adaptive response that can be applied in future occupational challenges.

The above stages of adaptation represent an internal self-organization. When this does not occur naturally, or if the person becomes overwhelmed by changes due to stress or illness, the occupational therapist can design interventions that facilitate adaptation through the occupations connected with the client’s meaningful life roles.

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