Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 357–367 | Cite as

Rough-and-Tumble Play and the Development of Physical Aggression and Emotion Regulation: A Five-Year Follow-Up Study

  • Joseph L. Flanders
  • Melissa Simard
  • Daniel Paquette
  • Sophie Parent
  • Frank Vitaro
  • Robert O. Pihl
  • Jean R. Séguin
Original Article


This is a follow-up to a study demonstrating that rough-and-tumble play was related to physical aggression in the preschool years. Fathers reported on the frequency of father-child rough-and-tumble play interactions, and the degree to which fathers were dominant in the play dyad was observed and coded from play interactions. In this follow-up study, school-aged children’s physically aggressive behaviors and emotion regulation abilities were assessed with questionnaires 5 years later. Higher frequencies of father-child rough-and-tumble play in the preschool years were associated with more physical aggression and worse emotion regulation 5 years later for children whose fathers were less dominant, over and above the effects of physical aggression in the preschool years. Rough-and-tumble play was unrelated to these measures among children whose fathers were more dominant during play. This study shows that early rough-and-tumble play continues to be related to children’s psychosocial adjustment over time, and that the effect remains moderated by the quality of the father-child relationship during play.


Rough-and-tumble play Aggression Emotion regulation Dominance Father Development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph L. Flanders
    • 1
  • Melissa Simard
    • 2
  • Daniel Paquette
    • 3
  • Sophie Parent
    • 3
  • Frank Vitaro
    • 3
  • Robert O. Pihl
    • 1
  • Jean R. Séguin
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.School of PsychoeducationUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Montreal and Ste-Justine Hospital Research CenterMontrealCanada

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