Imaginary Friends

When I was growing up I had an imaginary friend named Robbie.  I remember him in the house I lived in until I was 4 and then I don’t know what happened to him.  He was a little older than me and had his own world of imaginary people and he was the leader of a group that sometimes met in my basement.  I didn’t participate in these meetings but I would play with him when the others were gone.  He was smart and nice.  I wanted to see what research showed about kids having imaginary friends.  In an article I found Carlson and Taylor did a study  to find out how many kids have imaginary friends in preschool years and then three years later. Forty-nine of the 100 children reported an imaginary companion that could be invisible or a personified toy. (1177)

Some other things I found interesting in the article was the report of gender. It was more common for girls to have imaginary companions. Of the gender of 5 (10%) imaginary companions was unknown, 2 (4%) were specified as having no gender, 24 (49%) were male and 18 (37%) were female. Of the 42 companions with reported gender 37 were the same gender as the child.  None of the boys had female imaginary companions and 5 of the girls had male imaginary companions.(p 1178)

Only 12 of the 31 remembered the imaginary friend they had described three years earlier. (p 1179) I think it’s possible more people had imaginary friends but don’t remember it anymore. Most the kids didn’t remember why they had stopped playing with imaginary companion (p. 1180)

If you want to check out this research you can go to

Carlson, Stephanie M., Marjorie Taylor, The Characteristics and Correlates of Fantasy in School-Age Children: Imaginar Companions, Impersonations, and Social Understanding. Developmental Psychology Copyright 2004 by the American Psychological Association, 2004, Vol. 40, No. 6, 1173–1187


Tara Fronk


~ by tarafronk on November 2, 2009.

4 Responses to “Imaginary Friends”

  1. The first part of your post reminded me of that movie about being a transporter’s wife. Anyway, very interesting topic. Good choice!

    Ryan Van Wagenen

  2. I totally related to this when I was a little boy. Still miss my imaginary friend

    -James Frost

  3. Very very interesting… I have never heard anyone talk about an imaginary friend that they had had! I think that is so cool! I also wonder why it is that girls will have boys as imaginary friends, but boys do not have girls as imaginary friends? Good topic.
    Rebekah Pinegar

  4. I tend to think that those who have had an imaginary friend as a child will consequently have considerably more vivid imaginations later in life. Being a child influenced by such, would you agree or disagree?

    Kellie Gibson

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