Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Kevin Jones


We evaluated the effects of nondirective play therapy on the inappropriate play of three developmentally normal children with conduct problems . Specifically, we examined the effects of attention (contingent vs noncontingent) and the play environment (enriched vs impoverished) using a reversal design. Our goal was to isolate one of these two variables as the primary effective component of nondirective play therapy for a particular child. For two subjects, attention remained contingent upon inappropriate play across conditions and the play environment was manipulated. Inappropriate play increased for one of these participants in an impoverished environment. For the third participant, an actual play therapy condition (noncontingent attention and enriched environment) served as baseline. The effects of contingent attention and environmental manipulations (enriched vs impoverished) were measured. No clear effect was detected. Implications for further research are discussed.