Mary Khetani, Sc.D., Jenifer Marley, M.S., Megan Baker, M.S., Erin Albrecht, M.S., Gary Bedell, Ph.D., Wendy Coster, Ph.D., Dana Anaby, Ph.D., Mary Law, Ph.D.
Participation in home, school, and community activities is an important indicator of child health and well-being. Evaluating environmental influences on children’s participation can inform efforts to develop sustainable built environments, but few validated measures exist.
To examine the concurrent validity and utility of the Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth (PEM-CY) for Health Impact Assessment in non-urban sustainable development projects affecting children with disabilities.
Eighty-nine parents of children and youth with disabilities who identified as residing in a small town or rural community were sampled. Sixty-six caregivers completed the PEM-CY online, and 23 caregivers completed the PEM-CY and CHIEF-CP paper forms. Spearman correlational analyses were conducted to establish the concurrent validity of the PEM-CY environment sections against the CHIEF-CP. Group comparisons by child’s age, number of functional limitations, and annual household income were used to examine differences in summary and item-level responses on the PEM-CY community section.
Moderate to strong associations were found between CHIEF-CP Total Product and Magnitude Scores and all PEM-CY Environment Summary Scores. CHIEF-CP Physical/Structural and Policies Subscale Scores were most consistently associated with PEM-CY Environment Summary Scores. Group differences by household income were found for participation frequency and number of supports, including perceived availability and adequacy of money and information about programs and services, even when controlling child’s age and number of functional limitations.
Study results lend support to the use of the PEM-CY in HIA to reliably assess for environmental impact on children’s participation. Implications for using the PEM-CY to inform decision-making in non-urban sustainable development projects affecting families of children and youth with disabilities are discussed.