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Journal Article

Play and playfulness in psychiatry: A selective review

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Berger, P., Bitsch, F., Bröhl, H., & Falkenberg, I. (2018). Play and playfulness in psychiatry: A selective review. International Journal of Play, 7(2), 210-225. doi:10.1080/21594937.2017.1383341.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-598A-C
It has widely been accepted that play has a major role in the process of human development, particularly during childhood. Not surprisingly, play research and research into playfulness (i.e. the ability ‘to transform virtually any environment to make it more stimulating enjoyable and entertaining’ [Barnett, L. A. (2007). The nature of playfulness in young adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 949–958. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2007.02.018]) has mainly focused on play in children. Recently, however, an increasing amount of research has demonstrated numerous positive effects playfulness can have on adults as well. Adult playfulness has been shown to bear positive relations to indicators of psychological and physical well-being, such as life satisfaction or physical fitness [Proyer, R. T. (2013). The well-being of playful adults: Adult playfulness, subjective well-being, physical well-being, and the pursuit of enjoyable activities. European Journal of Humour Research, 1, 84–98. doi:10.7592/EJHR2013.1.1.proyer] and also to other desirable outcomes such as creativity [Tegano, D. W. (1990). Relationship of Tolerance of Ambiguity and Playfulness to Creativity. Psychological Reports, 66, 1047–1056. doi:10.2466/pr0.1990.66.3.1047] and academic achievement [Proyer, R. T. (2011). Being playful and smart? The relations of adult playfulness with psychometric and self-estimated intelligence and academic performance. Learning and Individual Differences, 21, 463–467. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2011.02.003]. Highly playful adults have been described as outgoing, humorous and happy [Barnett, L. A. (2007). The nature of playfulness in young adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 949–958. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2007.02.018]. Despite of this, playfulness remains an understudied area in psychiatry.