To what extent do children with cerebral palsy participate in everyday life situations?

Jackie Parkes, Nichola McCullough, Ann Madden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


The aims of the study are to describe participation of children with cerebral palsy in everyday life situations, to investigate the relationship between participation (primary outcome variable) with child and parent characteristics (independent variables) and to compare the frequency of participation (secondary outcome variable) of children with cerebral palsy with children without disabilities. A cross-sectional survey of parents of children with cerebral palsy in Northern Ireland was undertaken in families’ homes using standard questionnaires. Children with cerebral palsy born between 31/8/1991 and 1/4/1997 were identified from a case register of people with the condition. A total of 102 parents opted in (51% response rate). Questionnaires included the Life Habits Questionnaire (Life-H) to measure difficulties in participation and The Frequency of Participation Questionnaire (FPQ), to measure frequency of participation with comparative data for children without disability. Overall, children with cerebral palsy participated less often than their non-disabled peers across a number of lifestyle and cultural pursuits. Among the 102 children with cerebral palsy, participation in ‘relationships’ was the least disrupted area of everyday life and aspects of ‘school’, ‘personal care’ and ‘mobility’ were the most disrupted. Children with cerebral palsy and severe co-impairments were significantly less likely to experience higher levels of participation in most areas of everyday life when compared to children with cerebral palsy and no severe co-impairments. Child physical and psychological well-being did not influence participation although higher parenting stress was significantly related to lower child participation in ‘community activities’. Participation is an important health outcome for children with cerebral palsy and should be incorporated in routine clinical practice. Professionals have a role to play both at the level of addressing individual child and family needs as well as influencing legislation and policy to ensure improved access to services and local communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-315
Number of pages12
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number3
Early online date24 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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