A conceptual model of the factors affecting the recreation and leisure participation of children with disabilities

Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2003;23(1):63-90.


Participation in everyday activities is considered to be a vital part of children's development, which is related to their quality of life and future life outcomes. Research studies indicate that children with disabilities are at risk for lower participation in ordinary activities at home and in the community. This article presents a conceptual model of 11 environmental, family, and child factors that are thought to influence children's participation in recreation and leisure activities. The article outlines the existing evidence for the influence of these factors on one another and on children's participation. The review encompasses four bodies of literature: the participation of children or adults with disabilities, the risk and resilience of children facing adversity, the determinants of leisure and recreation activities, and the factors influencing physical activity and exercise. The proposed model is expected to be a useful tool for guiding future research studies and for developing policies and programs for children with disabilities and their families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Disabled Children* / rehabilitation
  • Family Health
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Recreation
  • Social Environment