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Background: Positive participation outcomes are deemed the ultimate goal of health care and specifically of occupational therapy. Knowledge of the typical participation patterns of children in Australia will provide essential information to support our understanding of participation and the goal of maximising children's engagement.

Aims: This study investigated the participation of Grade 6 and Year 8 Victorian students in activities outside school and explored differences between genders and between students in different year levels. Secondarily, we began to establish Australian normative data on the Children's Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment and Preferences for Activities of Children.

Methods: This cross sectional survey methods study recruited students from a random selection of public schools. Participation was measured using the Children's Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment and Preferences for Activities of Children questionnaires.

Results: Participants included 84 (37 female, 47 male) students in Grade 6 (n = 43) and Year 8 (n = 41). Differences between year levels were only evident for participation in Recreational and Active Physical activities. Grade 6 students did more activities, more intensely than Year 8 students, but with no difference in enjoyment. The mean number of Recreational activities done by Grade 6 students was 8.5 (95%CI: 7.9–9.1) compared to Year 8 students 6.9 (95%CI: 6.1–7.7; P = 0.001). Gender differences were evident in the participation patterns within Social, Skill‐Based and Self‐Improvement activities.

Conclusion: The findings suggested that gender was a more important influence on participation patterns than a 2‐year age gap, with participation patterns being relatively stable between Grade 6 and Year 8.


School of Allied Health

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Journal Article

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