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Being Alone, Playing Alone, and Acting Alone: Distinguishing among Reticence and Passive and Active Solitude in Young Children

Coplan, Robert J. ; Rubin, Kenneth H. ; Fox, Nathan A. ; Calkins, Susan D. ; Stewart, Shannon L.

Child Development, February 1994, Vol.65(1), pp.129-137 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Being Alone, Playing Alone, and Acting Alone: Distinguishing among Reticence and Passive and Active Solitude in Young Children
  • Author/Creator: Coplan, Robert J. ; Rubin, Kenneth H. ; Fox, Nathan A. ; Calkins, Susan D. ; Stewart, Shannon L.
  • Subjects: Social Welfare & Social Work ; Medicine ; Sociology & Social History ; Psychology
  • Is Part Of: Child Development, February 1994, Vol.65(1), pp.129-137
  • Description: 3 forms of solitude were studied in young children—reticence (onlooker and unoccupied behavior), solitary‐passive behavior (solitary‐constructive and ‐exploratory play), and solitary‐active behavior (solitary‐functional and ‐dramatic play). 48 4‐year‐old children grouped in quartets of same‐sex unfamiliar peers were observed in several situations. Mothers completed the Colorado Temperament Inventory. Results indicated that (1) solitary‐passive, solitary‐active, and reticent behaviors were nonsignificantly intercorrelated; (2) reticence was stable and associated with the demonstration of anxiety and hovering near others, whereas solitary‐passive and solitary‐active play were stable yet unrelated to anxiety and hovering; (3) reticence during free play was generally associated with poor performance and displays of wariness in several other social situations, while solitary‐passive and ‐active play were not; (4) reticence was associated with maternal ratings of child shyness, while solitary‐active behavior was associated with maternal ratings of impulsivity. Results are discussed in terms of the underlying mechanisms associated with reticence and passive and active withdrawal.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0009-3920 ; E-ISSN: 1467-8624 ; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1994.tb00739.x