The Role of Parent Personality and Attribution Style in Preschool Children’s Play Behaviour

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Lathrop, Rachel
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Parent personality and attribution style are two important variables which have been shown to independently contribute to child outcomes. To my knowledge, researchers have yet to examine the interaction of these two variables to predict child play behaviours. The current study examined the role of parent personality dimensions and attribution style in preschool children’s play behaviours. Participants included 37 parents and 23 childcare providers of children aged 2 to 4 years old registered in part-time or full-time daycare in the Ottawa region. The results yielded several significant findings. In terms of parent personality, parents’ higher rates of Openness to Experience were related to children’s increased social play as well as children’s increased rough-and-tumble play. Parents’ higher levels of Openness to Experience were also related to children’s decreased solitary-active play. In terms of parent attributions, for children who engaged in more solitary-passive play, parents depicted their child’s misbehaviours as less typical and more situational. For children who engaged in predominantly solitary-active play, parents were more likely to make less purposeful attributions. Three significant interactions were also revealed. For parents with higher levels of Openness to Experience, their children's increases in rough-and-tumble play were related to more stable attributions. For parents with lower levels of Openness to Experience, their children's increases in rough-and-tumble play were related to less purposeful attributions. Lastly, for parents lower in Conscientiousness, their children's increases in solitary-passive play were related to less typical attributions. Limitations of the study were explored. Implications of these findings and others are discussed in terms of possible ‘red flag’ combinations of variables and importance of early-targeted interventions for children and families
Child play behaviors , Childcare providers