OBJECTIVE: To comprehensively describe parent perceptions of environmental barriers to recreational, community, and school participation for children with physical disabilities.
DESIGN: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data gathered in the first wave of a longitudinal study of the child, family, and environmental factors affecting the recreational and leisure participation of school-age children with physical disabilities.
SETTING: General community.
PARTICIPANTS: Parent-child pairs (N=427). Child participants included 229 boys and 198 girls with physical disabilities in 3 age cohorts (6-8, 9-11, 12-14 y).
INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Craig Hospital Inventory of Environmental Factors.
RESULTS: Barriers to participation were encountered in school and work environments (1.54+/-1.88), physical and built environments (1.36+/-1.35), within institutional and government policies (1.24+/-1.71), services and assistance (1.02+/-1.2), and attitudes and social support (.87+/-1.17). Age, socioeconomic status, level of physical functioning, and behavioral difficulties were related to the impact of barriers reported in certain areas. No significant differences by the sex of the children or rural versus urban community were found.
CONCLUSIONS: Parents report environmental barriers in several areas, providing valuable information about the environmental factors that support or hinder participation while showing the complexity of these issues. Future research is required to further identify potential avenues for intervention.