Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joseph C. LaVoie

Second Advisor

Gary Larsen

Third Advisor

Norman H. Hamm


The play patterns and stimulus preference of 20 preschool children were observed during low and high s tress conditions. The stress manipulation was contingent upon the child's preparation for a medical appointment. Heart rate recordings and a questionnaire were used as Indices of stress. Children manifested a preference toward creative-constructive play under conditions of increased stress , with a resultant decrease in manipulative and imaginative play. Play with relevant or irrelevant toys did not change significantly during the increased stress condition. Pencil—paper measures of stress used in previous studies were significantly related to the physiological measure of stress . No sex differences were found for play patterns, stimulus preference or for stress.

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