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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Playful Behaviors in Fragile Families: How Does Play in Mother-Child Interactions Impact Adolescent Adjustment?
by Smelser, Quinn K., Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2020, 141; 27831757
Abstract (Summary)

This study explored the relationships of attachment security, maternal involvement, maternal playfulness, and adolescent mental health outcomes in a sample from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study (FFCWBS), a longitudinal collection of behavioral data focused on unmarried, low-income, single-parent households (Reichman, Teitler, Garfinkel, & McLanahan, 2001). The data used in this study included an examination of the uniqueness of playfulness in the mother-child relationship. Self-report survey items on mother-child involvement data from the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth waves of the FFCWBS were compiled for this study. Additionally, the measure of attachment security used in the third wave of the FFCWBS, the Toddler Attachment Sort-39 (TAS-39: Andreassen & Fletcher, 2007) was included. There were 4,898 families who participated in the FFCWBS. Items were compiled to create two scales: a playfulness scale and a non-playful positive maternal involvement scale. The TAS-39 attachment security variable as well as these two scales comprised the predictor variables for adolescent mental health outcomes. Adolescent mental health outcomes at age 15 were measured using maternal reports on a 34-item adapted version of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001). Results indicated the attachment security, non-playful positive maternal involvement, playfulness, and adolescent mental health outcomes were statistically significantly associated, though the effect sizes were small. Contrary to predictions, attachment security was the strongest predictor of adolescent mental health outcomes. Playfulness also predicted mental health outcomes. This study further adds to the attachment security literature showing the strength of that variable as a protective factor. Further, considerations for parent-child relationship therapies and play theories and therapies are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lanthier, Richard P.
Commitee: Crunk, Anne E., Stewart, Anne L.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Counseling
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 81/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Developmental psychology
Keywords: Adolescence, Attachment, Parent-child, Parenting, Play therapy
Publication Number: 27831757
ISBN: 9798607305574
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