Relations between parents' interactive style in dyadic and triadic play and toddlers' symbolic capacity.Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2005 Oct; 75(4):599-607.AJ
Play has a major role in the evaluation and treatment of young children referred to mental health clinicians. The present study examined parental correlates of preschoolers' symbolic play during dyadic and triadic play interactions. Boys' play contained more aggressive themes, and girls' contained more nurturing themes. Mothers displayed more caring themes during play with both sons and daughters, and fathers displayed more repair and construction themes. Mothers' and fathers' facilitative- creative interaction style in dyadic play predicted the level of the child's symbolic play. Co-parenting style marked by cooperation and autonomy predicted symbolic play during a triadic family session. Child intelligence predicted symbolic play beyond the parent's style during triadic but not dyadic interactions. The findings have implications for early intervention directed at increasing symbolic play in young children.