Predicting Cognitive Development through Play Behavior in Adopted Children

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Predicting Cognitive Development through Play Behavior in Adopted Children

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The data from fifty-four children who were internationally adopted from institutional care settings between 18-36 months of age were analyzed in respect to their quality of play during a parent-child play setting. A coding scheme developed by Belsky and Most (1981) was used to evaluate the quality of play the child engaged in during two play segments taken place 6-8 months apart. A rate of change was found and used to determine whether children’s cognitive recovery from deprivation can be predicted by their quality of play soon after adoption. In addition to play quality, the child’s engagement during the play segments was also evaluated in respect to their overall play ability. In analyzing these play scales with the child’s cognitive ability at 12-months post adoption taken from the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (Mullen, 1995), no significant correlations were found.


Faculty adviser: Dr. Megan Gunnar

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This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

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Miller, Alyssa. (2012). Predicting Cognitive Development through Play Behavior in Adopted Children. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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