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This study focuses on the self-representations or cognitive self-schemas that individuals construct as a function of their play experiences. Participants (N = 101) completed the Lifestyle Assessment Questionnaire (Elsenrath, Hettler, & Leafgren, 1989), a version of Kelly's (1955) repertory grid, and a health questionnaire. As predicted, there is a health benefit when play is featured prominently in the personal identity of individuals. These individuals show greater awareness for and acceptance of their own emotions, and are more skilful at expressing their feelings in appropriate ways. They also pursue intellectual stimulation, avoid exposure to harmful chemicals and drugs, and engage in behaviors that promote the health and welfare of their broader social community. Other characteristics of self-schema for play were positively associated with exercise, self-examination, recent and current health descriptions, and the number of primary care visits to physicians during the previous 12 months. Discussion focused on the potential stress-buffering effect of play in our lives.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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