Objective: The purpose of the present study was to assess the prevalence of functional limitations in children seen in a large paediatric practice network and to identify sociodemographic, family and psychosocial factors related to functional limitations.
Study design: Cross-sectional analysis.
Population: Children were recruited from two large, practice-based primary care research networks during their paediatric office visits. For the present study, participants included 14 630 school-aged children (ages 6-15 years) and their caregivers.
Outcomes measured: Parents completed written questionnaires including the Pediatric Symptom Checklist, the Family Apgar and the Functional Limitations Index.
Results: Findings indicated that 15% of children surveyed had some limitation in their daily functioning. More children had schoolwork and physical function limitations than limitations in personal and self-care. Logistic regression equations predicted functional limitations and health status in children from a model of sociodemographic factors, psychosocial symptoms and family functioning.
Conclusions: A low but significant number of school-age children seen in the primary care setting experience functional limitations. Children with any psychosocial symptoms were at increased risk for functional limitations, indicating the critical need to screen for functional impairment in children with suspected behavioural or emotional problems. A screening tool of functional limitations may be useful for assessing the presence or absence of such limitations in children's daily function and warrants further investigation.