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The playful advantage: how playfulness enhances coping with stress

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Title: The playful advantage: how playfulness enhances coping with stress
Author(s): Magnuson, Cale
Advisor(s): Barnett, Lynn A.
Department / Program: Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Discipline: Recreation, Sport, and Tourism
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Masters
Subject(s): playfulness perceived stress coping styles adults
Abstract: This study investigated the interrelationship between playfulness in adults, perceived stress, and styles of coping. Research on playfulness has long centered on its connection to development in children, while the study of playfulness in adulthood has just recently commenced. Similarly, the psychology literature is rife with the study of stress and coping processes, whereas its study through the lens of playfulness is virtually nonexistent. This is unfortunate, as all three constructs are cognitive-emotional in nature, suggesting a natural relationship between them. This thesis study investigated whether playfulness serves an adaptive function in the experience of stress and corresponding coping strategies among college-aged students. Findings revealed that playful individuals reported lower levels of perceived stress than their less playful counterparts. Furthermore, playful individuals more frequently utilized adaptive, stressor-focused coping strategies and were less likely to employ negative, avoidant, and escape-oriented strategies. The findings suggested that as in childhood, playfulness serves a strong adaptive function in young adulthood, providing individuals with more cognitive resources from which they can manifest effective coping mechanisms in the face of stressful situations. Playfulness, then, should not remain on the peripheries of societal and academic thought, but rather should be developed, nurtured and subjected to further scientific inquiry.
Issue Date: 2012-02-06
Genre: thesis
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/29611
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Cale Magnuson
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-02-06
Date Deposited: 2011-12
 

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