Balance confidence and physical activity participation of independently ambulatory youth with cerebral palsy: an exploration of youths’ and parents’ perspectives Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • AIM: Youth with cerebral palsy generally participate in less physical activity than typically developing peers. In adults with physical disabilities, balance confidence is a strong predictor of participation and community re-integration. However, balance confidence has not been studied in youth with cerebral palsy. METHOD: Qualitative descriptive methodology with interviews of eight youth with cerebral palsy (9-17 years old, three girls) in Gross Motor Function Classification System Levels I-III, and eight parents (five mothers) of youth with cerebral palsy (9-17 years old, two girls) in Levels I-III. RESULTS: Three themes arose: (1) youth in Gross Motor Function Classification System Levels I-II are more concerned about losing their balance during physical activities than those in Level III; (2) when balance is lost, embarrassment and frustration are more common than fear, especially for those in Levels I-II; and (3) social factors can create a favorable participation environment when balance confidence is low, especially for youth in Levels I-II. CONCLUSION: Balance confidence may have greater influence on physical activity participation for youth in Gross Motor Function Classification System Levels I-II than those in Level III. Youth in Levels I-II may draw greater benefit from interventions targeting balance confidence when addressing physical activity goals.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONBalance confidence may have a greater influence on activity avoidance for youth with cerebral palsy in Gross Motor Function Classification System Levels I and II (who are independently ambulatory without walkers or cane(s)) than for those in Level II (who use walkers or cane(s) to ambulate).Youth who are independently ambulatory without walkers or cane(s) may benefit more from interventions directed at balance confidence (e.g., enactive mastery and verbal persuasion) to address their physical activity participation goals.For youth who are independently ambulatory without walkers or cane(s), addressing factors that could reduce the influence of balance confidence on physical activity participation, such as providing a positive and supportive social environment in which to participate, may be beneficial.

authors

  • Towns, Megan
  • Lindsay, Sally
  • Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Kelly
  • Mansfield, Avril
  • Wright, Virginia

publication date

  • May 22, 2022