Importance: Play has been viewed as a critical occupation supporting health since the founding of occupational therapy, but the complexity of play presents challenges to scholars who study adults. Researchers in occupational science and occupational therapy often address experiential qualities of occupations, including those considered to be play. However, the literature lacks clear descriptions of what constitutes adult play as well as the experiences of adults during preferred activities.

Objective: To contribute to the body of knowledge on the wide range of preferred activities adults in the United States pursue and may perceive as play experiences. We refer to these activities as adult play because they contain experiential qualities of play described in key play literature.

Design: Cross-sectional survey study.

Setting: A 31-item survey, the Daily Occupational Experience Survey–revised (DOESr), was uploaded to Qualtrics for data collection using snowball sampling. The online survey link was distributed to participants aged 18–64 years.

Participants: The survey was completed by 491 participants. Exploratory factor analysis was used to extract the most prevalent patterns of play experiences reported. Internal consistency and content validity were also examined.

Results: The factor analysis yielded an optimal solution of five factors representing distinct patterns of adult play experiences: Creativity–Adventure, Restoration, Deep Engagement, Ludos, and Mastery.

Conclusions and Relevance: The five factors identified by the DOESr represent distinct patterns of adult play experiences. The DOESr demonstrated acceptable internal consistency for three of the five factors as well as for the overall tool.

Plain-Language Summary: Previous research on adult occupations has not addressed the array of experiences that adults seek or enjoy while engaging in play. This study identified five patterns of adult play experiences. Understanding these patterns may assist occupational therapy practitioners when tailoring clients’ play experiences to promote optimal health and well-being.

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