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Barrett, E. et al. (2014) Exposure to prenatal life events stress is associated with masculinized play behavior in girls (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Previous research has shown that prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can alter children's neurodevelopment, including sex-typed behavior, and that it can do so in different ways in males and females. Non-chemical exposures, including psychosocial stress, may disrupt the prenatal hormonal milieu as well. To date, only one published study has prospectively examined the relationship between exposure to prenatal stress and gender-specific play behavior during childhood, finding masculinized play behavior in girls who experienced high prenatal life events stress, but no associations in boys. Here we examine this question in a second prospective cohort from the Study for Future Families. Pregnant women completed questionnaires on stressful life events during pregnancy, and those who reported one or more events were considered "stressed". Families were recontacted several years later (mean age of index child: 4.9 years), and mothers completed a questionnaire including the validated Preschool Activities Inventory (PSAI), which measures sexually dimorphic play behavior. In sex-stratified analyses, after adjusting for child's age, parental attitudes toward gender-atypical play, age and sex of siblings, and other relevant covariates, girls (n=72) exposed to prenatal life events stress had higher scores on the PSAI masculine sub-scale (β=3.48, p=0.006) and showed a trend toward higher (more masculine) composite scores (β=2.63, p=0.08). By contrast, in males (n=74), there was a trend toward an association between prenatal stress and higher PSAI feminine sub-scale scores (β=2.23, p=0.10), but no association with masculine or composite scores. These data confirm previous findings in humans and animal models suggesting that prenatal stress is a non-chemical endocrine disruptor that may have androgenic effects on female fetuses and anti-androgenic effects on male fetuses.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
41
Page/s:
20-27
Keyword/s:
Synonyms:
  • Longitudinal
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Fehr, K. et al. (2013) Aggression in Pretend Play and Aggressive Behavior in the Classroom (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Research Findings: Pretend play is an essential part of child development and adjustment. However, parents, teachers, and researchers debate the function of aggression in pretend play. Different models of aggression predict that the expression of aggression in play could either increase or decrease actual aggressive behavior. The current study examined pretend play and classroom behavior in preschoolers. Children ("N" = 59) were administered a measure of pretend play, and teacher ratings of classroom behavior were obtained. Pretend play skills were positively associated with prosocial behavior in the classroom and negatively associated with physical aggression in the classroom. In particular, expression of oral aggression in play related to less physical aggression and more prosocial behavior in the classroom. Practice or Policy: These findings suggest that pretend play should be encouraged, as these skills relate to positive behaviors in the classroom. In addition, it was found that aggression in pretend play was not an indicator of actual aggressive behavior, as it related to positive behaviors in the classroom. Implications for parents and teachers are discussed. (Contains 2 tables.)

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
24
Page/s:
332-345
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Correlational
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Play assessment
  • Pretend play
  • Social-emotional
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Hirose, T. et al. (2012) Correspondence between Children's Indoor and Outdoor Play in Japanese Preschool Daily Life (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This study examined the correspondence between children's indoor and outdoor play in a preschool environment to investigate whether the children maintained a tendency to engage in a particular type of play irrespective of the environment, or whether they changed the type of play according to the environment. Play behaviours of 18 three-year-old and 20 five-year-old children were observed in both settings in an urban preschool in Japan. Various characteristics of play were examined based on cognitive play categories, social play categories, and types of objects used. The results indicate that children do not maintain fixed play behaviour without taking into consideration the play settings: their play differed greatly in accordance with the play setting. Not every child showed the same differences in play corresponding to differences in the setting. However, for each age group there was a qualitative difference based on the setting. For the three-year-olds, the "subject of interest" changed between settings, whereas for the five-year-olds, the "participation in society" changed related to the setting (indoor or outdoor). The "relation with the environment" was greater for both age groups in the outdoor setting. There were no significant sex differences. (Contains 3 tables and 2 figures.)

Date:
January 2012
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
182
Page/s:
1611-1622
Synonyms:
  • Correlational
  • Free play
  • Functional play
  • Indoor play
  • Outdoor play
  • Parallel play
  • Peers play
  • Physical play
  • Playground
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Kuhnert, R. et al. (2017) Gender-differentiated effects of theory of mind, emotion understanding, and social preference on prosocial behavior development: A longitudinal study (Journal Article)