Mothers’ Perceptions of Their Children’s Play: Scale Development and Validation

Lynn Barnett Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The wealth of literature that has investigated children's play behavior has largely relied on reports from mothers who have beliefs about the value of play for their child, and about how, when, and with whom their children should play. These beliefs and opinions influence the types of play opportunities, materials, and programs they provide, which in turn affect the children's developmental trajectory and outcomes. The present study identified the issues that constitute parental beliefs about their children's play, and developed a scale (the Mothers' Perceptions of Their Children's Play Scale) to measure them, with rigorous psychometric testing to establish its reliability and validity. The study was conducted on 698 mothers and their third through fifth grade child, and is the first to measure mothers’ perspectives on their children's play at this age. The findings of the study determined that there were two subscales a “mothers” beliefs about their children's unstructured play and about their structured play a “ both of which showed high internal reliability and temporal stability over a three month period, as did their component dimensions. Face, content and construct (concurrent, discriminant) validity were also found to be highly acceptable for the subscales and for the scale as a whole.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-144
JournalUniversal Journal of Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013


  • Mothers and Play
  • Middle Childhood
  • School-Aged Play
  • Play Benefits
  • Children's Play


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