The emergence of dyadic pretend play quality during peer play : The role of child competence, play partner competence and dyadic constellation

Jaggy, Ann-Kathrin; Mainhard, Tim;
Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau
Sticca, Fabio;
Pädagogische Hochschule Thrugau
Perren, Sonja

The quality of social pretend play may have a positive impact on children's development. This study investigated to what degree this quality is a characteristic of a child versus a function of the play partner or the specific pairing of two children. For this purpose, preschool children's general pretend play quality (actor effect), their general influence on their play partner's pretend play quality (partner effect) and the role of the specific constellation between two children (relationship effect) were examined in a dyadic setting. Potential associations of the effects with children's age, gender, social cognitive and social competencies, as well as the dyadic composition of these variables and their friendship were examined. Children completed two to four dyadic pretend play situations with different peers. They were tested for their language ability, theory of mind and emotion understanding. Educators rated children's social competence (cooperation and sociability) and evaluated their friendship with one another. A social relations model analysis was conducted. The results indicated that children's pretend play quality was determined to the same degree by the child and by the specific pairing of two children. Positive associations were found between children's pretend play quality and age, emotion understanding and sociability on the individual level. Further, the quality of children's social pretend play benefited from having older and more advanced play partners.


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