The purpose of this study was to provide additional psychometric support for the Preference for Solitary Play Interview (PSPI) and to examine the associations between self-reported preference for solitary play and indices of adjustment in early childhood. Participants were N = 340 children attending kindergarten and grade 1. Children completed the PSPI, and teachers provided assessments of children's socio-emotional and school adjustment. In support of the validity of the PSPI, preference for solitary play was positively associated with asocial behaviours. Further, preference for solitary play displayed an indirect (but not direct) association with peer exclusion via asocial behaviours. Findings are discussed in terms of the social and behavioural implications of preference for solitary play in early childhood. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? Children who spend more time alone are at increased risk of adjustment difficulties. However, some individuals desire to spend time alone because of an appreciation for solitude. A preference for solitude is not associated with negative adjustment in adults and older youth. What does this study add? This study is among the first to examine self-reported preference for solitary in early childhood. Preference for solitude may not be related to emotional or school difficulties in young children. However, a heightened display of solitary behaviours may still evoke negative responses from peers.

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British Journal of Developmental Psychology
Department of Psychology

Ooi, L.L. (Laura L.), Baldwin, D. (Danielle), Coplan, R, & Rose-Krasnor, L. (Linda). (2018). Young children's preference for solitary play: Implications for socio-emotional and school adjustment. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 36(3), 501–507. doi:10.1111/bjdp.12236