Pretend play in Italian children: Validation of the Affect in Play Scale-Preschool version

Elisa DELVECCHIO, Diana MABILIA, Jianbin LI, Daniela DI RISO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the emerging literature supporting the central role of pretend play for children’s cognitive, affective and social development, there is a paucity of standardized and validated measures devoted to assess it, especially for preschoolers. In addition, most of the existing tools failed in their attempt to assess the interplay among the different developmental domains which are involved in playing activities. The Affect in Play Scale-Preschool version is a semi-structured measure to assess cognitive and affective pretend play processes in children aged 4–5 using a 5-min standardized play task. This study was aimed to evaluate the construct and external validity of the scale in a sample of Italian preschoolers. A multi-group factor analysis confirmed the adequacy of the two-factor model with cognitive and affective factor for both 4- and 5-year-old children. No differences were found between boys and girls whereas older children reported higher play abilities. Correlations between pretend play, divergent thinking, teacher’s measures of temperament and prosocial behavior were carried out. Results supported the use of APS-P as a valid tool for assessing the interplay of cognitive and affective abilities in Italian children. Copyright © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-95
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number1
Early online dateMay 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


social development
Statistical Factor Analysis
new media
factor analysis


Delvecchio, E., Mabilia, D., Li, J.-B., & Di Riso, D. (2016). Pretend play in Italian children: Validation of the Affect in Play Scale-Preschool version. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(1), 86–95. doi: 10.1007/s10826-015-0208-5


  • Affect in Play Scale-Preschool version
  • Construct validity
  • Symbolic play
  • Italian children