Children’s indoor and outdoor play as potential correlates of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran: a brief report on national survey

Article


Rajabi, M., Afrooz, G. A., Qureshi, G. and Pombo, A. 2021. Children’s indoor and outdoor play as potential correlates of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran: a brief report on national survey. International Journal of Play. 10 (4), pp. 437-447. https://doi.org/10.1080/21594937.2021.2005404
AuthorsRajabi, M., Afrooz, G. A., Qureshi, G. and Pombo, A.
Abstract

Over the past 16 months, Iranian children have had their schools closed. Prolonged COVID-19-related restrictions and limited play activities can have significant mental health consequences in children. Using a cross-sectional design, a sample of Iranian parents (n = 1182) of children aged between 5 and 11 years completed an online survey including: Children's Play Scale (CPS), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule Short Form (I-PANAS-SF), and the Strength and Difficulties Questionarie (SDQ). Parents reported that their child spent significantly longer time playing outside at home and inside at home than anywhere else. Children were also reported to spend the minimum number of hours at indoor play centres, near water, green spaces, and playgrounds. Compared to the pre-COVID-19 context, significant declines in outdoor play activities during the pandemic were reported for 83% of children. Findings revealed that there is a significant but small negative correlation between mental health difficulties and total CPS scores (r = −.427, p < .0001). Correlations of CPS scores with Positive and Negative affect were weak but significant (r = .211, and r = −.294, respectively; p < .0001). Results indicate that it is necessary to find strategies to increase children's outdoor play activities, especially when they return to their schools with wider-spread social and emotional needs than before.

JournalInternational Journal of Play
Journal citation10 (4), pp. 437-447
ISSN2159-4937
Year2021
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/21594937.2021.2005404
Publication dates
Online22 Dec 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted17 Oct 2021
Deposited09 Mar 2022
Copyright holder© 2021 Taylor & Francis
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