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The Mediating Role of the Environment in Explaining Participation of Children and Youth With and Without Disabilities Across Home, School, and Community

Published:January 27, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2014.01.005

      Abstract

      Objective

      To test the effect of personal and environmental factors on children's participation across 3 different settings (home, school, community); to ascertain the interrelations between these factors; and to propose and test 3 models, 1 for each setting, using structural equation modeling.

      Design

      Survey, cross-sectional study, and model testing.

      Setting

      Web-based measures were completed by parents residing in North America in their home/community.

      Participants

      Parents (N=576) of children and youth with and without disabilities, (n=282 and n=294, respectively), ages 5 to 17 years (mean age, 11y 2mo), completed the Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth (PEM-CY).

      Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The PEM-CY measured levels of participation frequency and involvement, as well as environmental barriers and supports of participation, in each of the following 3 settings: home, school, and community. Information about the child's health condition and functional issues was also collected.

      Results

      All 3 models fit the data well (comparative fit index, .89–.97) and explained 50% to 64% of the variance of participation frequency and involvement. Environmental barriers and supports served as significant mediators between child/personal factors (income, health condition, functional issues) and participation outcomes, across all models. The effect of the environment was most pronounced, however, in the community setting.

      Conclusions

      Our findings highlight the unique role of the environment in explaining children's participation across different settings and, therefore, support the development of interventions targeting modifiable environmental factors.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      CFI (comparative fit index), CI (confidence interval), HC (health condition), PEM-CY (Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth), RMSEA (root mean square error of approximation), SEM (structural equation modeling)
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