Purpose: This study explored a possibility to assess the concepts of participation and participation restrictions in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) by combining self-ratings of the perceived importance with the actual performance of different everyday activities in people with a mild intellectual disability.
Method: Structured interviews regarding 68 items from the ICF activity/participation domain were conducted (n = 69). The items were ranked by perceived importance, performance and by combined measures. Furthermore, the measures were related to a single question about subjective general well-being.
Results: Rankings of performance highlighted about the same items as "important participation", while rankings of low performance addressed quite different items compared with "important participation restriction". Significant correlations were found between subjective general well-being and high performance (r = 0.56), high performance/high importance (important participation) (r = 0.56), low performance (r = -0.56) and low performance/high importance (important participation restriction; r = -0.55).
Conclusions: The results support the clinical relevance of the ICF and the studied selection of 68 items. Although performance only may sometimes be a relevant aspect, knowledge about the relationship between the perceived importance and the actual performance is essential for clinical interventions and for research aiming to understand specific needs regarding participation.
Implications for rehabilitation: The concepts of participation and participation restriction are highly relevant in people with a mild intellectual disability. Self-rated performance might be sufficient to assess participation at a group level. In clinical practices, the relationship between the perceived importance and the actual performance of an activity is essential to assess.
Keywords: Assessment; ICF; intellectual disability; participation; self-ratings.