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Beginning with the work of Webb (1969), a line of research has developed attempting to explain how the socialization experiences of children and adolescents help transform their attitudes toward play. In Webb's view, the transformation to a state of being "professionalized" has occurred when an emphasis on equity and fairness, which are pronounced at earlier stages of development, has been replaced by a focus on winning. The body of research that has developed from this original formulation has consistently identified age and gender differences (Loy, Birrell, & Rose, 1976; Maloney & Petrie, 1972; Mantel & VanderVelden, 1971) in play attitudes, with males being more highly professionalized than females, and adolescents and young adults more professionalized than preadolescents. Webb's research identified age, social class, and religious differences in play orientation and made a strong argument that attitudinal transformations represent a coming together of the worlds of play and work:
The authors are with the School of HPER at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE 68182-0216.