Free
Research Article  |   March 1999
The Relationship Between Playfulness and Coping in Preschool Children: A Pilot Study
Author Affiliations
  • Irene Saunders, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Heritage Child Development Center, 5 Ferry Street, South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075
  • Mary Sayer, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Heritage Child Development Center, South Hadley, Massachusetts
  • Anne Goodale, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Mercy Hospital, Weldon Center for Rehabilitation, Springfield, Massachusetts
Article Information
Children and Youth
Research Article   |   March 1999
The Relationship Between Playfulness and Coping in Preschool Children: A Pilot Study
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 1999, Vol. 53, 221-226. doi:10.5014/ajot.53.2.221
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 1999, Vol. 53, 221-226. doi:10.5014/ajot.53.2.221
Abstract

Objective. Effective play and coping skills may be important determinants of children’s adaptive behavior. Play and coping have undergone extensive individual study; however, these two variables have not been explored in relationship to each other.

Method. The play behaviors of 19 randomly selected preschool children were rated by researchers using The Test of Playfulness. The children’s coping skills were rated by their teachers with the Coping Inventory.

Results. A positive, significant correlation was found between children’s level of playfulness and their coping skills. Overall, girls were rated as more playful than boys and scored higher in coping skills. Younger children (36–47 months of age) were rated as better players and copers than older children (47–57 months of age).

Conclusion. This pilot study supports occupational therapy intervention in children’s play environments and playful interactions as a way of influencing their adaptability in all life skills.