Importance: There is a need for tools to measure adults’ playfulness in reference to parent–child joint play.

Objective: To (1) develop items for the Scale of Parental Playful Attitude (PaPA), (2) evaluate evidence for validity based on content, and (3) evaluate evidence for validity based on the response process.

Design: A mixed-methods design with three phases: (1) development of the first draft of the PaPA (based on the literature, focus groups, and semistructured interviews), (2) review by experts and revision of the first draft, and (3) cognitive interviews with parents.

Setting: Various (e.g., schools, a university).

Participants: Phase 1 had 32 participants: 13 parents of children ages 2.5–6 yr without major diagnosed conditions; 8 parents of autistic children age 4–7 yr; and 11 preschoolers age 3–5 yr. Phase 2 involved 10 experts. Phase 3 had 5 participants: 3 mothers and 2 fathers of children ages 2.5–6 yr; 1 child was autistic.

Outcomes and Measures: Interview protocols and experts’ review form.

Results: Phase 1 involved the initial item development. Extrinsic motivation and barriers to play emerged as important areas to include. Experts’ review enhanced representation of the construct of playfulness. Content validity index values ranged from .78 to 1.00. Cognitive interviews provided insights into parents’ comprehension of PaPA items.

Conclusions and Relevance: Validity related to test content and the response process was supported. Additional sources of validity testing are necessary.

Plain-Language Summary: Adult playfulness is critical for both the child and the parent, especially for developing a deeper connection. The Scale of Parental Playful Attitude (PaPA) assesses parents’ self-perceptions of their playfulness when playing with their child. The study authors developed the PaPA (in both English and Spanish) to address a lack of tools for assessing how parents perceive their own playfulness relative to their child’s playfulness. Understanding how parents perceive their own playful attitudes can create opportunities for occupational therapists to guide parents to approach play with an attitude that is as attuned as possible to their child’s playfulness. Future validity studies are needed to support the clinical use of the PaPA.

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