An update on the study of playfulness in adolescents: its relationship with academic performance, well-being, anxiety, and roles in bullying-type-situations

  • René T. ProyerEmail author
  • Nancy Tandler


Playfulness is an individual differences variable at the trait-level. It describes the ability to experience or (re)frame everyday situations as stimulating, interesting, and/or entertaining. Playfulness in adolescents is understudied. We collected self-report data on four facets of playfulness (other-directed, lighthearted, intellectual, and whimsical) in two German-speaking samples of adolescents (N1 = 210, N2 = 270; age range 13–18 years). The facets correlated positively, but to varying degrees with life satisfaction (social life, self, friends) and intrinsic goals. There was no relationship with self-reported school grades and achievement goals (Sample 1). Playfulness in girls was associated with peer-nominated (classmates) bullying behaviors and victimization status (Sample 2). Overall, the findings show that playfulness has an impact on various domains of the life of adolescents. We discuss directions for further research in the field.


Academic motivation Bullying Peer nomination Playfulness Life satisfaction 



The authors are grateful to Anina Wigand and Miriam Fänder for their help with the data collection.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 31 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMartin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergHalle/SaaleGermany

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