Prospective relations among preschoolers' play, coping, and adjustment as moderated by stressful events
This study evaluated the prospective contribution of preschoolers' pretend play to observer reports of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems one year later, as mediated by observed coping flexibility during a delay of gratification task and as moderated by children's exposure to stressful life events. Preschoolers' (N=250; Mage=49.05months, SD=2.95; 50% female) fantasy and affect expression in pretend play were assessed during a laboratory visit. Moderated mediation models tested for conditional indirect effects of play fantasy and affect expression on behavior problems through coping flexibility as a function of the child's exposure to stress. Preschoolers' fantasy and negative affect expression in pretend play predicted lower rates of internalizing, but not externalizing, problems. Coping flexibility partially mediated this relation, particularly among children with relatively more life stress. These findings clarify processes by which, and contexts within which, preschoolers' pretend play influences later behavioral adjustment. © 2014.
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Marcelo, Ana K. and Yates, Tuppett M., "Prospective relations among preschoolers' play, coping, and adjustment as moderated by stressful events" (2014). Psychology. 536.