Predictors of Change Over Time in the Activity Participation of Children and Youth with Physical Disabilities

Child Health Care. 2009;38(4):321-351. doi: 10.1080/02739610903237352.


Little is known about predictors of change over time in the intensity of the leisure and recreational activity participation of children with physical disabilities. This study reports data from 402 children/youth with physical disabilities (216 boys and 186 girls), ages 6 to 15, collected on three occasions over a 3-year period. Latent growth curve modeling was used to determine the significant child, family, and community predictors of change in the intensity of their participation in five types of activities (recreational, active physical, social, skill-based, and self-improvement). Differences in predictors were examined for boys versus girls, and older versus younger children. Significant predictors of change were found only for recreational and active physical activities. The findings indicate that factors associated with change in participation intensity are dependent on the type of activity, and vary as a function of children's sex and age. Implications for research and service delivery are discussed, including the importance of a contextualized, holistic, and developmental approach to intervention.