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David Baxter

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Study finds 'imaginary friends' common
United Press International - December 07, 2004
SEATTLE, Dec 07, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A U.S. study of schoolchildren released Tuesday has found 65 percent of 7-year-olds have had an "imaginary friend" at some point.

University of Washington and University of Oregon psychologists recruited 152 preschoolers, ages 3 and 4, and their parents several years ago. Each child and parents were interviewed separately about imaginary companions. Three years later, 100 of those children -- 50 girls and 50 boys -- and their parents volunteered for the newly published study.

Imaginary companions described by the children came in a fantastic variety of guises, including invisible boys and girls, a squirrel, a panther, a dog, a 7-inch-tall elephant and a "100-year-old" GI Joe doll.

The number of imaginary companions described by children ranged from one to 13 different entities, and not all of them are friendly, as a number were reportedly quite uncontrollable and some were a nuisance, the researchers said.
 
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