Frequency of parallel, associative, and co-operative play in British children of different socioeconomic status

Sally Dyer1, Giovanni B. Moneta1
1London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Cite this article:  Dyer, S., & Moneta, G. (2006). Frequency of parallel, associative, and co-operative play in British children of different socioeconomic status. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 34, 587-592.

Volume 34 Issue 5 | e1500 | Published: June 2006 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2006.34.5.587

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In this pilot study we tested for socioeconomic status (SES) differences in the frequency of social play in British children. Participants were 40 children, 3-5 years old, selected in equal numbers from 2 nurseries, one in a high and the other in a low SES borough of East England. Ten episodes of play from each nursery were observed, transcribed, and coded into Parten’s (1932) play categories (parallel, associative, and cooperative play) obtaining a total of 282 instances of social play. The child’s frequencies of the three types of social play were used as the dependent variables in a SES × gender multivariate analysis of variance. There was only one significant result, the main effect of SES for associative play, indicating that this type of play is twice as frequent in low as in high SES children. Findings indicate that there are no SES or gender differences in the overall frequency of social play, but children of low SES have a significantly stronger propensity toward associative play.

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