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Goldstein, T. et al. (2017) Dramatic pretend play games uniquely improve emotional control in young children (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Pretense is a naturally occurring, apparently universal activity for typically developing children. Yet its function and effects remain unclear. One theorized possibility is that pretense activities, such as dramatic pretend play games, are a possible causal path to improve children's emotional development. Social and emotional skills, particularly emotional control, are critically important for social development, as well as academic performance and later life success. However, the study of such approaches has been criticized for potential bias and lack of rigor, precluding the ability to make strong causal claims. We conducted a randomized, component control (dismantling) trial of dramatic pretend play games with a low-SES group of 4-year-old children (N = 97) to test whether such practice yields generalized improvements in multiple social and emotional outcomes. We found specific effects of dramatic play games only on emotional self-control. Results suggest that dramatic pretend play games involving physicalizing emotional states and traits, pretending to be animals and human characters, and engaging in pretend scenarios in a small group may improve children's emotional control. These findings have implications for the function of pretense and design of interventions to improve emotional control in typical and atypical populations. Further, they provide support for the unique role of dramatic pretend play games for young children, particularly those from low-income backgrounds. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/2GVNcWKRHPk

Date:
January 2017
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Volume:
Page/s:
e12603
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
  • Socio-economic background
Relevant age group/s:

Goldstein, T. et al. (2018) Dramatic pretend play games uniquely improve emotional control in young children (Journal Article)

Abstract:
Date:
January 2018
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
21
Page/s:
e12603
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Goldstein, T. et al. (7/01) Dramatic pretend play games uniquely improve emotional control in young children (Journal Article)

Abstract:
Date:
July 2018
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
21
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