The association between attachment and symbolic play was examined in a sample of 45 preschool age boys with autism spectrum disorders. Attachment was assessed using the strange situation procedure, and the frequency, duration, diversity and complexity of child-initiated symbolic play was assessed from observations of mother-child interactions during free play and doll play. We hypothesized that children with secure attachments will score higher on measures of symbolic play compared to children with insecure attachments, and that children with organized attachments will also score higher on measures of symbolic play compared to children with disorganized attachments. Only the second hypothesis received support, and the reasons for this, as well as the implications of the findings for attachment theory, are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by grant 824/02 from the Israel Science Foundation. The authors would like to extend special thanks to the families and children for participating in the study. We also thank Alona Dinnerman and Smadar Gertner, for their help in collecting and coding the data, and Cory Shulman for her assistance with children’s diagnostic assessments.
- Symbolic play
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology