Playing With Pre-School Friends Reduces Risk of Mental Health Problems Later

Playing with pre-school friends can actually reduce the risk of developing mental health problems later in life.

Do you remember making friends in pre-school? It may seem like so long ago, but new research suggests that those friendships may have actually been good for your mental health. These findings are the first to provide clear evidence that ‘peer play ability’ — the capacity of children to successfully play with other children — has a positive and protective effect on mental health later in life. 


For the study, researchers from the University of Cambridge examined data from almost 1,700 children collected between the ages of three and seven. Different types of peer play were analyzed, including simple games, pretend play, goal-directed activities, and collaborative games.

These peer play indicators were used to create a measure of ‘peer play ability,’ the underlying ability of a child to engage with peers playfully. At age seven, children were also watched for any possible signs of mental health problems, including hyperactivity, conduct, emotional, and peer problems.

At age three, those with better peer play ability consistently showed fewer signs of poor mental health four years later. Researchers noted these children were also less likely to have lower hyperactivity, fewer conduct and emotional problems, and they were less likely to get into disagreements with other children.

These findings suggest that children should be given access to well-supported opportunities to play with their peers. This is especially true for young children who may be vulnerable to mental health issues. An example of an opportunity may include a playgroup run by early years specialists.

Dr. Jenny Gibson from the University of Cambridge said: “We think this connection exists because through playing with others, children acquire the skills to build strong friendships as they get older and start school. Even if they are at risk of poor mental health, those friendship networks will often get them through.” 

Mental Health and Brain Function


This study outlines the importance of mental health throughout life. At an early age, what we are exposed to and how we deal with our peers can significantly affect our mental and brain health.

Other factors such as stress can affect brain function, which can affect concentration, memory, and overall cognitive function. The Smart Pill can help counteract these effects through nine ingredients that help support, nourish, and maximize brain health and cognitive function.

These include ginkgo biloba, huperzine A, bacopa extract, rosemary extract, and a B vitamin complex. This unique formula helps boost circulation, fight free radicals, and help to promote clear thinking.

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.