Imaginary companions and impersonated characters: Sex differences in children's fantasy play

Stephanie M. Carlson, Marjorie Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

We compared the incidence of imaginary companions and impersonated characters in 152 three- and four-year-old children (75 males and 77 females). Children and their parents were interviewed about role play in two sessions. Although there were no sex differences in verbal ability or fantasy predisposition, there was a significant difference in the form of children's imaginary characters: girls were more likely to create imaginary companions, whereas boys were more likely than girls to actively impersonate their characters. There were no significant sex differences in the competence ratings of imaginary companions or impersonated characters. These results suggest that it is important to examine the form and function of children's pretense to understand sex differences in fantasy play.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-118
Number of pages26
JournalMerrill-Palmer Quarterly
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

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