Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 141–149 | Cite as

A Psycho-linguistic Study on Adult Playfulness: Its Hierarchical Structure and Theoretical Considerations

  • René T. Proyer


By means of a linguistic corpus analysis, statements were derived that reflect trait-like characteristics of playful adults. These were given to a sample of 240 adults who also completed two measures of adult playfulness. Using Goldberg’s (J Res Pers 40:347–358, 2006) top-down approach, the hierarchical factor structure of playfulness in this data set was examined. A solution with seven factors fits the data well and could be clearly interpreted. The retrieved factors were (1) cheerful-engaged; (2) whimsical; (3) impulsive; (4) intellectual-charming; (5) imaginative; (6) lighthearted; and (7) kind-loving. The two playfulness measures did not cover all of these dimensions. The intellectual-charming and the kind-loving variants of playfulness were less well represented in these instruments. The study contributes to the basic question of what factors underlie playfulness and suggests that there are aspects of adult playfulness that were hitherto less well described.


Adult playfulness Corpus analysis Hierarchical factor structure Humor Playfulness 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section on Personality and Assessment, Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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