Perceived efficacy and goal setting in young children

Can J Occup Ther. 2000 Apr;67(2):101-9. doi: 10.1177/000841740006700303.


One of the central tenets of client-centred occupational therapy is to enable clients to select goals to work on in therapy (Law, 1998). The process of identifying and prioritizing goals is fairly abstract, therefore occupational therapy goals for children are often prescribed by the therapist or by parents and teachers. The purpose of this study was to pilot test a measure and a process that would provide young children with the opportunity to assess their performance on daily tasks and to establish goals for occupational therapy intervention. Parents and children completed the Perceived Efficacy and Goal Setting System (PEGS), a measure of children's perception of their competence performing fine and gross motor tasks. Children 5-9 years of age were able to discriminate among tasks and to rate whether or not they were able to perform each task competently. They were also able to use this information to select and prioritize goals for intervention. While parents often rated the child's competence lower than the child did, there was a high level of agreement regarding which tasks were difficult for the child. Parents and children often did not agree about the specific selection or priority of these tasks for intervention, however, which highlights the need for further research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / classification
  • Motor Skills Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Occupational Therapy*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Perception