A medieval kingdom: Leader-follower styles of preschool play

Marilyn Segal, Johanne Peck, Nitza Vega-Lahr, Tiffany Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Three studies were conducted to determine the validity and utility of a leader-follower preschool social style classification system developed by Adcock and Segal (1983) called the Medieval Kingdom. In their system, preschool children were classified as Lords, Bishops, Vassals, and Serfs as a function of their leader-follower styles. In Studies 1 and 2 children were designated as one of these social types based on global descriptions of the types, and their play behaviors were compared during classroom free play (Study 1) in a mixed age, 2- to 4-year-old group and during playground free play (Study 2) in a same age 4-year-old group. The Lords and Bishops exhibited more frequent leadership behaviors (organization/maintenance of play), while Serfs showed more follower-type behaviors (nondirective and peripheral play behaviors). Vassals' behaviors fell between those of the Lords/Bishops and the Serfs. Finally, a case study (Study 3) investigated the utility of pairing leaders-followers to reduce the aggressive behavior of followers in the classroom. Verbal reinforcement of the dyadic play of paired leaders and followers facilitated a reduction in aggressive behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-95
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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