Play behavior profiles and emotional knowledge in preschool children

Leandra Coelho, Maryse Guedes, Evelina D. Rodrigues, António J. Santos, Manuela Veríssimo


Children’s capacity to understand emotions and social intentions of others are associated with the quality of peer interactions. Nonsocial play behaviors during preschool years may be associated with difficulties in the development of emotional knowledge. This study aimed (1) to identify different profiles of social and nonsocial play behaviours in preschool children, and (2) to examine if emotional knowledge varies according to these profiles. 193 children, with a mean of 53.31 months of age, participated in the study. The Preschool Play Behaviour Scale in the Portuguese version was completed by teachers to indicate the children’s social and nonsocial behaviors during play. Children’s emotional knowledge was assessed with the Portuguese version of the Affect Knowledge Test. Hierarchical cluster analysis identified three different profiles of children according to their social and nonsocial play behaviours: reticent, solitary-social and social. Solitary-social children were the most representative group of our sample. Reticent children presented lower scores of emotional knowledge when compared to social children. Our findings support the existence of different types of social and nonsocial behaviours during play and their relationship with emotional knowledge.


Play behaviours, Emotional knowledge, Profiles, Preschool children.



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