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Research Article  |   May 1983
A Comparison of Play Behavior in Nonhospitalized and Hospitalized Children
Author Affiliations
  • Gary Kielhofner, Dr. P.H., OTR, is Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Occupational Therapy, Virginia Commonwealth University, MCV Station, Box 8, Richmond, Virginia 23298
  • Roann Barris, Ed. D., OTR, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298
  • David Bauer, Ph.D., is Associate Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298
  • Barbara Shoestock, OTR, is Staff Therapist, Children’s Medical Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia 23298
  • Leslie Walker, OTR, is Staff Therapist, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Hampton, Virginia; she was a student at Virginia Commonwealth University at the time of the study
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Features
Research Article   |   May 1983
A Comparison of Play Behavior in Nonhospitalized and Hospitalized Children
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 1983, Vol. 37, 305-312. doi:10.5014/ajot.37.5.305
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 1983, Vol. 37, 305-312. doi:10.5014/ajot.37.5.305
Abstract

Because play is extremely sensitive to environmental conditions, extended hospitalization may have adverse effects on normal play development in young children. This study compared the playfulness, as well as the level of play development, of three 2-year-old children who had been hospitalized most of their lives for tracheostomies, and three 2-year-olds living at home. Data on the children’s play were gathered by videotaping in two standardized play settings and one free play setting. Statistically significant differences in the developmental level of play and in playfulness (i.e., the degree of liveliness and joy exhibited) were found between the two groups in all three settings, and the play age of all six children varied by setting. Quantitative data analysis was supported by qualitative findings.

Although the differences between the groups cannot be conclusively attributed to hospitalization alone, certain features of the hospital environment appear to have hampered the development of play.