Needs assessment of runaway females in Iran from an occupational therapy perspective

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The purpose of this descriptive study was to assess, from an occupational therapy perspective, the occupational performance needs of runaway females between 15 and 33 years old, residing in the state-run shelters in Mashhad, Iran. The inclusion criteria were: (1) participants who were 15 years old or above; (2) participants who resided in one of the state-run shelters in Mashhad; and (3) participants who could read, comprehend and write in Farsi.

A written survey was completed by 44 runaway females (response rate: 36.6%). The findings revealed the occupational needs of this population to be as follows: vocational needs to find a meaningful job, emotional needs to manage depression and hopelessness, social participation needs to manage family and peer/friend relationships and peer interactions with the opposite sex to find an appropriate mate and educational needs to continue their education. Participants were from one area of Iran, so the results of the study cannot be generalized to runaway females residing in shelters in other areas of the country. Future research could include a qualitative design to explore more in-depth needs of this population. Also, a larger population of runaway females nationwide should be included in a study to increase generaliz-ability.

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