Improving the Quality of Studies on Self Concept in Children with Cerebral Palsy

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Self concept plays an integral role in the development of children, allowing them to form healthy relationships and become independent and active participants in society as they mature into adulthood (Harter in The development of self-representations. In N. Eisenberg (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 3, pp. 553-617. New York, NY: Wiley, 1998). Although studies have been directed toward the investigation of self concept in typically developing children (e.g. Harter in The self. In N. Eisenberg, W. Damon & R. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 3, 6 ed., pp. 505-570. Hoboken: Wiley, 2006), little is known about the nature of self concept in children who have physical health conditions such as cerebral palsy (CP). In this article, the authors integrate findings from self concept research involving typically developing children, children with mild intellectual disability (MID), and children with CP to gain an understanding of what knowledge there is and how to proceed in future research. Examination of the studies completed to date has led to suggestions that will improve the quality of future studies. Research on self concept in children with CP should control for personal factors such as physical impairment level, intelligence, age, and gender, as well as the environmental factor of educational placement. Future research ought to be undertaken to better establish the psychometric properties of instruments used to measure self concept for use with children that have CP.

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