Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Bridget Ryalls

Second Advisor

Joseph C. LaVoie

Third Advisor

Ann Coyne


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between a pre-school child’s fears and the child’s use of an imaginary companion or personified object. Preschool-aged children (36 To 74 months) were interviewed using a revised version o f the FSSC-R fear scale, and an imaginary companion questionnaire. Parents were asked to complete a demographic questionnaire. Data analyses revealed that children who did not have an imaginary companion or a personified object had an absolute higher total fear score than children who had this type o f figure, although this difference was not significant. Children with the lowest absolute total fear score had an imaginary companion only. No gender differences were found for presence of an imaginary companion or total fear score. But more girls than boys reported having a personified object. O f those children who reported an imaginary companion, over 60% had a companion of the same sex. No age differences were found in the incidence of imaginary companions, personified objects, or total fear score. More first-born and only children reported an imaginary companion. These findings were discussed in relation to previous studies and the use of fantasy to counteract fear.

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