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Donald L. Greer and Michael G. Lacy

The purpose of this paper is to analyze and comment upon recent developments in the measurement and conceptualization of attitudes toward play, or “game orientation.” Recent scholarly work has become critical of the traditional measurement instrument, the Webb Scale, focusing primarily on the issues of situational ambiguity and unidimensional artificiality. These critiques are analyzed in comparison with the conceptual and measurement approach offered by an alternative instrument, the Game Orientation Scale. It is concluded that the case in favor of the GOS and its Likert format is not as strong as it first appears. Until further research is conducted, the two competing approaches should be treated as of comparable methodological quality. Substantive and methodological recommendations for future research are offered.

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Michael G. Lacy and Donald L. Greer

The purpose of this investigation was to advance recent discussion about the relative merits of two alternative instruments involved in the assessment of game orientation. Fourth- and fifth-grade students (N=471) responded to a questionnaire containing both the Game Orientation Scale (GOS) and an adapted version of the original Webb Scale referred to as the “Context Modified Webb Scale” (CMW). CMW and GOS scores were then compared with scores reported in previous studies using each instrument, and the relationship between GOS and CMW scores was investigated using a series of Kendall correlation coefficients. CMW scores behaved consistently with previous results, but a significant gender difference emerged, which had not been seen previously in the GOS. Despite the differences in the way the two instruments approach the specification of play context, and despite the fact that one measures relative values while the other measures absolute values, small but conceptually sensible correlations between the two instruments were found consistently.

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Donald L. Greer and Michael J. Stewart

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: