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Pediatric Volitional Questionnaire

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The Pediatric Volitional Questionnaire (PVQ) uses observation of the child’s daily behaviors and occupations to assess volition. It provides information about the child’s motivational strengths and weaknesses, environmental supports and hindrances, and activities that maximize the child’s interests and motivation. The PVQ can be used in conjunction with other assessments to facilitate intervention planning, develop individualized education plans, or monitor efficacy of various therapy strategies.

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instrument details

Acronym PVQ

Area of Assessment

Attention & Working Memory
Infant & Child Development
Life Participation
Occupational Performance
Reasoning/Problem Solving
Social Support

Assessment Type


Administration Mode

Paper & Pencil


Not Free

Actual Cost



  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Pediatric + Adolescent Rehabilitation

Key Descriptions

  • The PVQ is a pediatric, play-based assessment centered on the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO). Volition is assessed through observation, making it an effective tool to use with most children regardless of their ability.
  • It is designed to evaluate young children or those with significant cognitive, verbal, and/or physical limitations. Level of volition is evaluated by degree of spontaneity in observed behaviors, and the level of support required from the therapist.
  • The therapist observes for 14 different behavioral items, which are scored on a 4-point rating scale: (S) Spontaneous, (I) Involved, (H) Hesitant, and (P) Passive. Children are scored on a continuum of volitional development: exploration (requires less volition), competency, and achievement (requires the most volition).

Number of Items


Time to Administer

30 minutes

Observation typically lasts between 10 and 30 minutes.
Two separate observations are recommended.

Required Training

Reading an Article/Manual

Age Ranges

Preschool Child

2 - 5



6 - 12


Instrument Reviewers

Initially reviewed by Sophia Anagnos, BS, Annie Elder, BA, Eva Hoffrichter, BSN, RN

ICF Domain


Measurement Domain



  • It is recommended that therapists score behaviors as close to the observation time as possible.
  • The assessment can be administered in a variety of settings.
  • Appropriateness of assessment should be based off of developmental age rather than chronological age.

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Pediatric Disorders

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Cut-Off Scores

Final volitional level is determined by predominant ratings within the continuum of volitional development.

Interrater/Intrarater Reliability

Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Taylor, 2009; n=3 children with autism spectrum disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder)

  • Pretest: Excellent (r= 0.85)
  • Mid-course: Excellent (r= 0.76)
  • Final: Excellent (r= 0.76)

Internal Consistency

Pediatric Population (Andersen, Kielhofner, & Lai, 2005) "Poor" (No statistical metric provided)

Construct Validity

Pediatrics: (Geist, 2005, Pediatrics)

  • Excellent construct validity
  • All 15 items returned mean squared values below 1.4, suggesting measurement of a single construct.

Cerebral Palsy

back to Populations

Cut-Off Scores

Final volitional level is determined by predominant ratings within the continuum of volitional development.

Criterion Validity (Predictive/Concurrent)

Concurrent validity:

Cerebral Palsy(Reid, 2005; n=16 with cerebral palsy, Cerebral Palsy)

  • Adequate concurrent validity of the PVQ and Test of Playfulness (ToP15)
  • Over 50% of PVQ items were correlated with average motivation score of ToP15 (r=0.62, p=0.001)


Andersen, S., Kielhofner, G., & Lai, J. (2005). An Examination of the measurement properties of the pediatric volitional questionnaire. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 25(1/2): 39-57.

Basu, S., Kafkes, A., Schatz, R., Kiraly, A., & Kielhofner, G. (2008). A user’s manual for the Pediatric Volitional Questionnaire (2.1 ed.). Chicago, IL: Model of Human Occupation Clearinghouse, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois of Chicago.

Geist, R. (1998). The validity study of the pediatric volitional questionnaire. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Miller, L., Ziviani, J., & Boyd, R. N. (2014). A systematic review of clinimetric properties of measurements of motivation for children aged 5-16 years with a physical disability or motor delay. Physical & occupational therapy in pediatrics,34(1), 90-111.

Reid, D. T., (2005). Correlation of the Pediatric Volitional Questionnaire with the Test of Playfulness in a virtual environment: the power of engagement. Early child development and care175(2), 153-164.

Taylor, R. R., Kielhofner, G., Smith, C., Butler, S., Cahill, S. M., Ciukaj, M. D., & Gehman, M. (2009). Volitional change in children with autism: A single-case design study of the impact of hippotherapy on motivation. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health25(2), 192-200.

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