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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2007 May;49(5):350-4.

Self-concept of children with cerebral palsy compared with that of children without impairment.

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1
School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia. n.shields@latrobe.edu.au

Abstract

This study examined whether the self-concept of children with cerebral palsy (CP) differed from that of children without impairment. Forty-seven children (24 males, 23 females; mean age 11y 8mo [SD 2y 6mo]) with spastic diplegia or hemiplegia were matched with children without impairment. The level of disability of the children with CP was classified as Gross Motor Function Classification System Level I (n=24), Level II (n=16), or Level III (n=7). The 36-item Self-Perception Profile for Children was used to assess six domains of self-concept. No difference was found between the groups for Global Self-worth, Physical Appearance, or Behavioural Conduct. Children with CP scored lower on Scholastic Competence (t(92)=-2.75, p=0.01), Social Acceptance (t(92)=-1.96, p=0.05), and Athletic Competence (t(92)=-3.63, p<0.01) than children without impairment. Males with CP had lower scores for Scholastic Competence (t(46)=-3.54, p<0.01) than males without impairment. Females with CP had lower scores for Social Acceptance (t(44)=-2.31, p=0.03) than females without impairment. Both males and females with CP had lower scores for Athletic Competence than their peers without impairment. These results suggest that children with CP do not have a lower Global Self-worth even though they may feel less competent in certain aspects of their self-concept. Clinicians need to account for this when deciding on management strategies and may need to educate parents, carers, and health professionals that a lower self-concept may not necessarily be associated with a diagnosis of CP.

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