What influences participation in leisure activities of children and youth with physical disabilities? A systematic review

Res Dev Disabil. 2011 Sep-Oct;32(5):1521-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.01.045. Epub 2011 Mar 8.


In 2001 the International Classification of Functioning (ICF) defined participation as 'someone's involvement in life situations'. Participation in leisure activities contributes to the development of children and their quality of life. Children with physical disabilities are known to be at risk for participation in fewer activities. The group of children with physical disabilities is highly heterogeneous consisting of children with different diagnosis and different ages. This systematic review aims to analyse the literature for the purpose of looking for variables involved in the frequency of participation in leisure activities for children and youth with different diagnoses and ages. Frequency of participation in leisure activities for children and youth with physical disabilities is associated with a variety of variables. Gross motor function, manual ability, cognitive ability, communicative skills, age and gender are the most important variables. The current evidence suggests that similar variables seem to apply to children with different diagnoses. Age is an important variable in participation of children and youth. However evidence about those variables associated with children at different ages is still lacking.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / psychology*
  • Child
  • Disabled Children / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology*
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Psychology, Child*