Parental Website-Descriptions of Children's Imaginary Companions
Authors: Jellesma, Francine; Hoffenaar, Peter J.
Source: Psychologica Belgica, 1 March 2013, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 117-124(8)
Abstract:Past research shows that imaginary companions are a normal phenomenon in childhood and do not indicate risk for psychopathology. The aim of this study was to see if parents are nevertheless concerned about imaginary companions. Internet-forums were searched in English, German, and Dutch in order to answer this question. Parental messages about present imaginary companions were analysed. Analyses of 89 posts made on a diverse set of internet-forums for parents revealed that half the parents expressed concerns about imaginary companions, especially parents with children older than 4.5 years old. When the imaginary companion was older than the child, parents were more likely to be concerned. Almost all messages were about imaginary companions, which might indicate that parents are less concerned about personified objects. The results signify that parents need more information in order to ensure they know imaginary companions are a normal childhood-experience.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2013