Motivation in pediatric motor rehabilitation: A systematic search of the literature using the self-determination theory as a conceptual framework

Objective: Motivation is suggested as an important factor in pediatric motor rehabilitation. Therefore, we reviewed the existing evidence of (motivational) motor rehabilitation paradigms, and how motivation influences rehabilitation outcome using self-determination theory as conceptual framework. Methods: PubMed and Web-of-Science databases were systematically searched until June 2015. Data were independently extracted and critiqued for quality by three authors. Studies reporting motivational aspects were included. Most studies examined new technology (e.g., virtual reality [VR]). Results: Out of 479 records, three RCT, six case-control, and six non-comparative studies were included with mixed quality. Motivation was rarely reported. Training individualization to the child’s capabilities with more variety seemed promising to increase motivation. Motivation increased when the exercises seemed helpful for daily activities. Conclusions: Motivation in pediatric rehabilitation should be comprehensively assessed within a theoretical framework as there are indications that motivated children have better rehabilitation outcomes, depending on the aspect of motivation.