Personal, environmental, and family factors of participation among young children
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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to assess the influences of environment, population characteristics, and service utilization on participation frequency and involvement in the home setting among children 0 to 5 years. METHOD: Data were collected from parents of 236 children (mean age 3 years and 5 months, SD = 1.30, girls = 152 and boys = 84) using a children's treatment centre in Ontario through an online survey. Two path models measuring home frequency and home involvement were assessed using structural equation modelling. The exogenous factors in the models included child's age, child's sex, child's complexity, number of environmental barriers, income, mother's participation, and service utilization. In addition to participation as the primary outcome, each model explored predictors of service utilization and mother's participation. RESULTS: The involvement model (R2 = 0.46) explained more variance than the frequency model (R2 = 0.33). Age (0.35, P < 0.001) and barriers (0.07, P = 0.001) predicted participation frequency in the home, χ2 (9) = 8.51, P < 0.4, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.00, comparative fit index (CFI) = 1.00. The home involvement model, χ2 (6) = 9.79, P < 0.13, RMSEA = 0.06, CFI = 0.97, showed that increasing age (0.09, P < 0.001), lower complexity (0.13, P = 0.001), and higher mother's participation (0.057, P = 0.001) were significantly related to higher participation. An increase in child's age or complexity significantly influenced service utilization across both models. Complexity reduced mother's participation in both the frequency and involvement models. CONCLUSIONS: This study is one of the first in Canada to examine participation of young children. The aggregation of each unit factor, particularly barriers and complexity, can accrue a large impact on the child's and mother's participation. The potential to mediate this impact by removing environmental barriers and promoting mother's participation merits further study.
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