The Family of Participation Related Constructs

Families of people with childhood-onset disability want their children and family to participate in all the activities they need to, want to, or have to do, so that they can all lead a good life. The Family of Participation Related Constructs (fPRC) is a framework designed by Imms et al in 2017 to support participation-based research and practice.

The WHO’s International Classification of Impairment, Disability and Health (ICF)) defines ‘participation’ as ‘involvement in a life situation’. However, when people started to study participation, there were many ways that people thought about it. There was no agreement or clarity, about what participation was.

Our research involved a series of systematic reviews of research and theory on childhood disability. From this work we created a framework called the ‘family of Participation Related Constructs (fPRC)’.

In the fPRC, participation is defined as having two essential elements: attendance and involvement.

  • Attendance is defined as ‘being there’ – being able to be physically (or virtually) present in a situation or activity.
  • Involvement is defined as the experience of participation while attending.


The fPRC also makes suggestions about how participation (attendance and involvement), aspects within the individual (activity competence, sense-of-self and preferences) and aspects external to the individual (the environment and the context in which participation is situated) work together.

For us to work together to improve the lived experience of people with child-onset disability by optimising participation, we have to understand what influences participation and then carefully consider how best to make changes.

The figure below shows the fPRC. You might also want to watch our Doodly cartoon, called: Let’s Talk About Participation.

Figure: The family of participation-related constructs. Panel A displays the person-focused processes and Panel B displays the environment-focused processes. From: Imms, C., Granlund, M., Wilson, P.H., Steenbergen, B., Rosenbaum, P., & Gordon, A. (2016). Participation – both a means and an end. A conceptual analysis of processes and outcomes in childhood disability. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 59(1), 16-25. DOI: 10.1111/dmcn.13237

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