Abstract

Importance: The subjective meaning that people attach to their occupations may explain the association among participation, health, and well-being. To date, the subjective meaning of occupation among children has mostly been studied through qualitative studies. No study has yet quantitatively assessed the perceived meaning of everyday activities among children. Moreover, no study has assessed the associations between perceived meaning and actual participation.

Objective: To explore the perceived meaning—value, challenge, felt time, and autonomy—that typically developing children attribute to their everyday activities and to assess the correlations between children’s perceived meaning and their participation as assessed by parents.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Community.

Participants: A convenience sample of 60 Israeli children (ages 6–12 yr) and their parents.

Outcomes and Measures: Parents completed the Children Participation Questionnaire–School, and children completed the Perceived Meaning of Occupation Questionnaire (PMOQ).

Results: Children valued their activities, they perceived the challenge as low, they felt that the time was almost equally distributed between time passing quickly and passing slowly, and they felt autonomous. The subjective perceived meanings were moderately correlated with the children’s actual participation.

Conclusions and Relevance: Children are capable of reflecting on the meaning of their everyday activities. The PMOQ may assist occupational therapy practitioners in eliciting their young clients’ perspectives regarding their everyday occupations. The results contribute to the occupational science literature in the context of child development.

What This Article Adds: The PMOQ enables children to reflect on their subjective perceived meanings of occupations. The subjective perceived meanings of occupations are moderately correlated with the children’s actual participation. The PMOQ may broaden the potential pathways to facilitating children’s meaningful participation in everyday occupations.

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