Effect of Play Therapy on Behavioral Problems of Mal-Adjusted Pre-School Children

By Jafari, Niloufar; Mohammadi, Mohammad Reza et al. | Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, Winter 2011 | Go to article overview
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Effect of Play Therapy on Behavioral Problems of Mal-Adjusted Pre-School Children


Jafari, Niloufar, Mohammadi, Mohammad Reza, Khanbani, Mehdi, Farid, Saeedeh, Chiti, Parisa, Iranian Journal of Psychiatry


Objective: The present research was conducted to study the effect of play therapy on reducing behavioral problems of mal-adjusted children (children with oppositional defiant disorder).

Method: By using multistage cluster sampling, regions 6, 7, and 8 in Tehran were selected, and among kindergartens of these areas, 3 kindergartens under the support of welfare organization were randomly selected. From pre-school children of these 3 kindergartens, 40 children that could have behavioral disorder according to their teachers and parents complaints, were carefully tested, and among them, by the results obtained from child symptom inventory questionnaire (CSI-4), teacher's form, and a researcher-made self-control checklist, 16 children who showed severe symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder were selected, and they were randomly divided into control and experimental group. This research is quasi-experimental, and is done by the use of pre-test, posttest, and control group.

Results: values of calculated F for oppositional defiant disorder in control and experimental group is meaningful after fixing the effect of pre-test (F(1,12)=74/94, P<0/001) so there is a meaningful difference between means of disobedience disorder post-test scores in experimental and control group by having the fixed effect of pre-test effect. Comparison of adjusted means of 2 groups shows that the mean of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in experimental group (M=14/09) is lower than control group (M=36/66). Therefore, applying play therapy in experimental group in comparison with control group, who did not receive these instructions, caused reduction in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in pre-school children.

Conclusion: Results of this research show that the children's disobedience is reduced by benefiting from play therapy.

Keywords: Children (child), play therapy, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), hyperactivity (Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity), child symptom inventory questionnaire (CSI-4)

Iran J Psychiatry 2011; 6:37-42

Direct effects of problems such as perceptual, physical, emotional, and social changes are stress; contradictions are followed by learning and behavioral problems that the child will experience. On the other hand, social conditions are changing rapidly that they all cause serious and deep effects on the psychological and personal world of a child (1).

Some of the most common problems of children in this range of age, which are often said to be parents' complaints, are disobedience, defiance, rebelliousness with aggression, and whenever adults cannot face informatively with these problems, and treat this trait of children well, they may lead to disobedient conducts in children. Therefore, disobedient children in preschool ages are those that are usually

recognized by oppositional defiant disorder and some disorders with it.

Oppositional defiant disorder is an ongoing pattern of disobedient, impudence negative activity, hostile and defiant behavior toward authority figures that lasts for longer than a 6-month period. It is recognized by continuous occurrence of at least 4 of these behaviors: losing control, having argument with grownups, deliberately doing what makes others annoyed, being sensitive and easily annoyed, being often irritated and indignant, criticizing others for their own mistakes or bad behaviors, hostility and being spiteful or vindictive. For diagnosing oppositional defiant disorder, frequency of symptoms should be more than the frequency of the same behaviors in people with the same biological and mental age, and in addition it must cause significant destruction of individual and social functions. If disorders in behavior happen only in psychotic or in temperamental disorders, or if the evidences concord with behavioral disorders or antisocial disorders (for people above 18), it is not diagnosed as oppositional defiant disorder (2)

Simultaneity of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) with other disorders

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is prevalent in children with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

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