Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: "I just started pretending they were there and they just kept staying with me" : a qualitative study into primary school-aged children's perceptions of the purpose and functions their imaginary companions serve for them, particularly in school and with school work
Author: Davies, Wendy Judith
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 5825
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Children's imaginary companions are a very common yet surprisingly under-researched phenomenon. This qualitative study investigates children's perceptions of their imaginary companion(s) and uncovers the functions they serve for the children, especially in relation to academic demands made by school. The research process is explored in detail and some particular considerations involved when conducting research with children are outlined. Seven children aged between seven and ten (primaryaged pupils), who had a current imaginary companion, participated in semi-structured interviews and themes were identified from interview transcripts. Findings derived from a thematic analysis reveal two over-arching themes, namely 'the child's relationship with their imaginary companion(s)' and 'problem-solving'. Several separate sub-themes contributed to these two over-arching themes. The findings are discussed in relation to children's cognitive, social and emotional development. Although only two boys reported their imaginary companions being at school, others helped with homework; therefore most of the imaginary companions in this study help with school work. They provide answers, offer reassurance that answers are correct, embody self-talk techniques, suggest approaches/strategies, provide visual cues and offer ready-made characters for stories. Implications of the findings for educational psychologists and practitioners are highlighted and areas for future research into imaginary companions are suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB1501 Primary Education