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Environmental factors make up the physical, social and attitudinal environment in which people live and conduct their lives.


Guide for use:
In the ICF classification scheme Environmental factors are organised to focus on two different levels, individual and societal. Environmental factors interact with the Body structures/Body functions and Activities and participation components.
A person’s functioning and disability is conceived as the dynamic interaction between health conditions and environmental and personal factors.


Environmental factors are external to the individual and can have a positive or negative influence on a person's participation as a member of society, on performance of activities, or on a person's body function or structure.


World Health Organization (WHO) 2001. International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Geneva: WHO

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2003. ICF Australian User Guide Version 1.0. Canberra: AIHW


This glossary item is based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). The ICF was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 2001 as a reference member of the WHO Family of International Classifications and of the Australian Family of Health and Related Classifications (endorsed by the National Health Information Management Group in 2002).

The ICF provides a framework for the description of human functioning and disability. The components of ICF are defined in relation to a health condition. A health condition is an ‘umbrella term for disease (acute or chronic), disorder, injury or trauma’ (WHO 2001). A health condition may be recorded, for example, as Episode of care principal diagnosis, code (ICD-10-AM 3rd edn) ANN{.N[N]} and Episode of care additional diagnosis, code (ICD-10-AM 3rd edn) ANN{.N[N]}.


Further information on the ICF can be found in the ICF itself and the ICF Australian User Guide (AIHW 2003) and the following websites
• WHO ICF website
• Australian Collaborating Centre ICF website

This content Based on Australian Institute of Health and Welfare material. Attribution provided as required under the AIHW CC-BY licence.

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