Model of Human Occupation: Overview and Applications

Model of Human Occupation: Overview and Applications

This article is about the model of human occupation: overview and applications. Use it to create essays on the model of human occupation and its application.

Introduction to the Model of Human Occupation: Overview and Applications Essay

What is the model of human occupation?

The Model of Human Occupation, or MOHO as it is known among occupational therapists, was the first model developed as a guide for occupational therapy. It is an occupational therapy approach that is evidence-based, occupation-based, occupation-focused, holistic, theory-driven, and client-centered. This model focuses on how people interact with their daily jobs and how occupational therapists should treat their patients.

“The motivation for occupation, the routine patterning of occupations, the nature of skilled performance, and the influence of the environment on occupation” are all factors considered in the model (Forsyth, Taylor, Kramer, Prior, Richie, Whitehead, Owen, & Melton, 2014, p. 506).

Dr. Gary Kielhofner developed the model. In 1975, Dr. Kielhofner, who was a Mary Riley student at the time, developed the model as a master’s thesis. The model was published in 1980 after five years of collaboration and development. Some similarities to Mary Riley’s work may be noticed while reading the model. This is because Mary Riley’s occupational behavior model and general systems theory inspired MOHO.

Along with a few other colleagues of Dr. Kielhofner, Mary Riley was a contributor to the model of human occupation. This was also the first time an occupational therapy model was developed that took a holistic approach to the individual. It was created because occupational therapy lacked its own model and was attempting to fit into other professions’ models, such as medical models, which did not consider the client holistically.

The three core concepts in the human occupation model are volition, habituation, and performance capacity. The client’s interests, beliefs, and values are referred to as volition. This is what motivates clients and gives them a reason to complete tasks. The client must first consider volition because, without it, the other components of human occupation will not be carried out. Volition is at the top of the human open system.

To be successful as a therapist, you need your clients to be interested in the profession. The client’s habits, roles, routines, and patterns are referred to as habituation. The physical and mental ability of a client to perform certain tasks is referred to as performance capacity. This model also considers the client’s impact on the environment, as well as how the environment can help or hinder these concepts.


What is volition?

As previously stated, volition entails knowing the client’s interests, beliefs, and values. It is one’s “source of motivation that guides individuals to anticipate, choose, experience, and interpret what they do; thoughts and feelings about doing occupations that reflect a sense of mastery, enjoyment, and value judgments” (source of motivation) (Cole and Tufano, 2008, p. 98).

This feature is regarded as the most crucial since it will be difficult to keep the client involved in the activity throughout treatment if they are not motivated or interested. Personal causation, values, and interests are the three subcategories that Forsyth et al. (2014) and Cole and Tufano (2008) divide volition into.

Personal causation is “One’s sense of competence and effectiveness; what a person feels capable of; a person’s awareness of his or her abilities; includes feelings of self-efficacy” (Cole and Tufano, 2008, p. 98). Values are “beliefs about what is right, important, and good to do that influences one’s goals; includes personal convictions, principles, and a sense of obligation” (Cole and Tufano, 2008, p. 98). Interests are “what a person finds enjoyable, pleasing, and satisfying” (Cole and Tufano, 2008, p. 98). The component of volition brings these three subsystems together to influence our daily occupation choices.


What is habituation?

The client’s role, routines, habits, and patterns are all described here. Habituation, according to Cole and Tufano (2008), is “a collection of behaviors and roles that assist people in organizing their everyday lives” (p. 98). Habituation, like volition, comprises two subsystems: habit and roles. “Automatic and repetitive behaviors that influence how persons perform routine activities, use time, and behave on a daily basis” are the habits of a client (Cole and Tufano, 2008, p. 98).

Their roles are “a source of identity with inherent duties and expectations; sometimes known as scripts or concepts of what is expected of oneself in a certain context; they allow people to meet self- and societal requirements” (Cole and Tufano, 2008, p. 98).

Capacity for Performance

What is performance capacity?

“Performance capacity” relates to a person’s basic mental and physical talents, as well as how those abilities are utilized and perceived in the workplace (Forsyth et al., 2014, p. 508).


What is the environment?

The environment, according to Cole and Tufano (2008), is more than simply your physical surroundings; it also includes a social component (p. 97). Because one’s surroundings might support or impede their activities, the environment plays a significant part in this paradigm. The surroundings might also influence the client’s behavior.

The human occupation model may be applied in a variety of ways in practice. It was not created for a certain group, but rather for everyone who is an occupational being, which includes everyone on the planet. This methodology aids clients in regaining and regaining their vocational independence. It is utilized to treat the whole individual, not just a specific ailment.

When an occupational therapist treats a man with a shoulder injury, for example, they are dealing with a complicated individual. They are not just treating a shoulder; they are treating a guy with a shoulder injury who may have a family, who may be depressed, who must return to work as soon as possible or risk losing his job, his home, and so on. It’s critical to comprehend the person’s complexity. As an example of a customer, I’ll use myself. I’m a track and field athlete, and I like jogging on a daily basis.

I was diagnosed with patella chondromalacia, sometimes known as “runner’s knee,” a condition in which the cartilage in my kneecaps softens and deteriorates (patella). After an accident during practice, I further hurt my left knee, which was already in bad shape. For a few months, I was told I wouldn’t be able to run on it. I was resolved to resume jogging as soon as possible and knew I had the mental and physical capacity to do it.

Model of Human Occupation: Overview and Applications

Volition influences how I chose this occupation of running because it is something I value, according to occupational therapy. Running appeals to me, and I feel it benefits my health. Running also makes me feel as like I’ve achieved something significant, which helps with my own self-efficacy development. With this knowledge, the occupational therapist may decide to gradually reintroduce me to running by walking a lap or two around the track during our sessions, ultimately progressing to jogging. I’ll be able to strengthen my knees over time if I make this a habit and repeat it.

My role is that of an athlete in this situation. My chondromalacia is aggravated when I run on concrete, according to my doctor, since the impact is too hard for my knees. My occupational therapist recommends that I stop running on the road and instead run on a treadmill, which is less taxing on my knees and can help with impact.


Overall, the human occupation model focuses on what can be done to assist the customer in all aspects. Volition is clearly the most crucial factor since, in order to succeed in treatment, a person must be driven and engaged. Because volition is the most important component of the human employment model, it parallels the Self-Efficacy Theory. Albert Bandura is the creator of this hypothesis. He felt that a person’s success in achieving a goal is entirely dependent on their confidence in their ability to do the work and do it effectively.

The self-efficacy hypothesis of learning, according to Helfrich (2014), is “a person’s own ideas about how successful he or she is or will be at learning or completing a new skill or activity” (p. 597). He also thinks that a person’s result is influenced by how enthusiastic they are about the activity and how engaged they are. There is one distinction between these two ideas, despite their numerous similarities. They differ in that the human occupation model believes the environment has a significant impact on the client, whereas the self-efficacy theory does not place a strong emphasis on environmental factors.

All other theories do not have this hierarchy of what elements are more significant and what elements are not, hence the model of human occupation is unique. All other theories take all factors into account and believe that they all play an equal role in the client’s success.

Finally, I believe I most closely agree with the self-efficacy hypothesis because if I do not believe I can complete a task or am not motivated to do so, and my self-esteem is poor, my chances of success are slim. As a future occupational therapist, it is critical for me to pay attention to what motivates my clients, to be a huge encourager to them, and to ensure that they believe in themselves so that I can help them improve as occupational beings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Which are the three key concepts components included in MOHO’s statements of how change occurs?

The three core concepts in the human occupation model are volition, habituation, and performance capacity.

2. Who created the Model of Human Occupation?

Model of Human Occupation: Overview and Applications
Model of Human Occupation

Dr. Gary Kielhofner developed the model

3. What is personal causation in MOHO?

Personal causation is “One’s sense of competence and effectiveness; what a person feels capable of; a person’s awareness of his or her abilities; includes feelings of self-efficacy” (Cole and Tufano, 2008, p. 98).


  • Helfrich, C. A. (2014). Principles of learning and behavior change. In B. A. B. Schell, G. Gillen, & M. E. Scaffa (Eds), Willard and Spackman’s occupational therapy (12th ed., pp. 597-598). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Forsyth, K., Taylor, R. R., Kramer, J. M., Prior, S., Richie, L., Whitehead, J., Owen, C., Melton, J. (2014). The Model of Human Occupation. In B. A. B. Schell, G. Gillen, & M. E. Scaffa (Eds), Willard & Spackman’s occupational therapy (12th ed., pp. 505-525). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Cole, M. B., & Tufano, R. (2008). Applied theories in occupational therapy: A practical approach. Thorofare: Slack.
  • Taylor, R. R. (2018). The Model of Human Occupation: Theory and Application. Retrieved from

Model of Human Occupation: Overview and Applications

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