TitlePhysical Activity Participation of Disabled Children: A Systematic Review of Conceptual and Methodological Approaches in Health Research
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsRoss, SMae, Bogart, KR, Logan, SW, Case, L, Fine, J, Thompson, H
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Date PublishedMay-09-2016

Physical activity (PA) participation is widely recognized as a critical component of health and development for disabled and non-disabled children. Emergent literature reflects a paradigm shift in the conceptualization of childhood PA as a multi-dimensional construct, encompassing aspects of physical performance, and self-perceived engagement.

However, ambiguity remains around how participation as a health construct is integrated into PA research.

The primary objective of the present mini-review is to critically examine current conceptual and methodological approaches to evaluating PA participation among disabled children.

We conducted a systematic review of contemporary literature (published between 2000 and 2016). Seventeen articles met inclusion criteria, and their research approach was classified into guiding framework, definition of the key construct, and measurement used. The primary guiding framework was the international classification of functioning, disability and health. An explicit definition of PA participation was absent from all studies. Eight studies (47%) operationalized PA and participation as independent constructs. Measurements included traditional performance-based aspects of PA (frequency, duration, and intensity), and alternative participation measures (subjective perception of involvement, inclusion, or enjoyment). Approximately 64% of included articles were published in the past 2 years (2014–2016) indicating a rising interest in the topic of PA participation.

Drawing from the broader discussion of participation in the literature, we offer a working definition of PA participation as it pertains to active, health-associated behaviors. Further description of alternative approaches to framing and measuring PA participation are offered to support effective assessment of health status among disabled children.

Short TitleFront. Public Health