Quantifying peer interactions for research and clinical use: the Manchester Inventory for Playground Observation

Jenny Gibson, Jamilla Hussain, Samina Holsgrove, Catherine Adams, Jonathan Green

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Direct observation of peer relating is potentially a sensitive and ecologically valid measure of child social functioning, but there has been a lack of standardised methods. The Manchester Inventory for Playground Observation (MIPO) was developed as a practical yet rigorous assessment of this kind for 5-11 year olds. We report on the initial reliability and validity of the MIPO and its ability to distinguish social impairments within different psychopathologies. We observed 144 clinically referred children aged 5;00-11;11 (mean 8.8) years with Externalising (n = 44), Internalising (n = 19), Autism Spectrum Disorders (n = 39) or Specific Language Impairment (n = 42), and 44 class-controls, in naturalistic playground interaction. Observers, blind to clinical diagnosis, completed the MIPO and the teacher checklist from the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS). MIPO items showed high internal consistency (alpha = .924; all 'alpha if item deleted' values>.91), inter-observer reliability (mean κ(w) = .77) and test-retest stability (over 2 weeks; mean κ(w) = .58). MIPO totals showed convergence with SSRS (n = 68, r(s) = .78, p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2458-66
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number6
Early online date9 Aug 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive
  • Child Psychology
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Depression
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders
  • Observer Variation
  • Peer Group
  • Personality Inventory
  • Play and Playthings
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Social Behavior

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