Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The current study involved the development and validation of a new measure of playfulness, the Project Joy Playfulness Scale (PJPS). The PJPS was designed specifically as a brief teacher-report measure for use in the preschool classroom. Playfulness was hypothesized to include four dimensions: Active Engagement, Internal Control, Joyfulness, and Social Connection. Blending academic knowledge with on-the-ground clinical experience, the measure was collaboratively developed and then tested in two separate phases of data collection.

In the first phase of the study, two hundred and twenty-two preschool students aged three to five were rated by two classroom teachers on the alpha version of the PJPS. Data from the first phase was used to identify the best-performing items, narrowing to the final set of twenty questions. The four factor structure (with five items per factor) demonstrated strong goodness of fit.

In the second phase of the study, one hundred and twenty preschool students were rated by two classroom teachers on the beta version of the PJPS and a criterion measure, the Children's Playfulness Scale (CPS). Data from the second phase independently confirmed the factor structure of the PJPS and evidenced criterion validity with the CPS. As hypothesized, the PJPS factor scores demonstrated strong positive correlations with the CPS.

Overall, the current study established cross-sample generalizabilty of the four-factor structure and provided preliminary evidence of convergent and discriminant validity. Inter-rater reliability and demographic differences based on age and gender are also reviewed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.