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Clin Rehabil. 2014 Apr;28(4):388-96. doi: 10.1177/0269215513504314. Epub 2013 Oct 10.

Do children participate in the activities they prefer? A comparison of children and youth with and without physical disabilities.

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1Brain Center Rudolf Magnus and Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht and De Hoogstraat Rehabilitation, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



To assess the discrepancy between the leisure activities children prefer and the leisure activities they actually participate in, for children with and without a physical disability, and to explore how in both groups this is related to age and gender.


Cross-sectional comparison.


Children with and without physical disabilities that were recruited from schools for special education and regular schools in the Netherlands.


The Children's Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment (CAPE) and the Preferences for Activities of Children (PAC). A discrepancy score was calculated representing high preference but no participation in the activity in the past four months.


A total of 141 children (6-18 years) with a physical disability (mean age 12.5, 43% girls, 57% boys) and 156 children without physical disabilities (mean age 11.5, 55% girls,45% boys) were included in the study. There was no significant difference in discrepancy scores between children with and without physical disabilities (informal activities 9.8 ± 5.0 vs. 9.8 ± 4.6, formal activities 6.4 ± 3.4 vs. 6.6 ± 2.8). Discrepancy between preference and performance varied by age and gender for children without disabilities but not for children with disabilities.


Both groups are equally able to participate in the activities they prefer. Age and gender had a significant effect on the discrepancy scores for children and adolescents without physical disabilities but not for children with physical disabilities.


Participation; children; leisure; physical disability; preference; typically developing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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