Consideration of a child’s motor proficiency, intrinsic motivation, internal locus of control, and freedom to suspend many of the constraints of objective reality were proposed to provide a more comprehensive assessment of play than would an assessment of play performance alone. For empirical validation of this conceptual model of play, 29 subjects (15 nondisabled children and 14 children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) between the ages of 4 years 6 months and 6 years 6 months were given four assessments: (a) the Preschool Play Scale (Bledsoe & Shepherd, 1982, Knox, 1974); (b) the Bruininks–Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (Bruininks, 1978); (c) the Preschool and Primary Internal–External Locus of Control Scale (Nowicki & Duke, 1974); and (d) tests of associative fluency (Wallach & Koogan, 1965; Ward, 1968).
Multiple regression procedures revealed that, when considered together, scores on the Bruininks–Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, tests of associative fluency, and the Preschool and Primary Internal–External Locus of Control Scale predicted scores on the preschool Play Scale, thereby supporting the usefulness of the proposed theoretical model. Further, there was no significant difference in the mean scores of the two groups on the Preschool Play Scale. Although this finding may be an artifact of the small sample size, it also may support the authors’ belief that children with motor impairments are able to compensate for their limitations by developing areas of relative strength that allow them to play normally. When this belief was further tested with Pearson product-moment correlations and Fisher’s Z transformations, it was found that correlations between the test scores of the nondisabled children were not significantly different from those of the children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Clearly, further research is needed.