Adult report of childhood imaginary companions and adversity relates to concurrent prodromal psychosis symptoms

Paige Davis, Lisa Webster, Charles Fernyhough, Kevin Ralston, Susanna Kola-Palmer, Helen Stain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Hallucination and dissociation have been found to be associated with imaginary friend play in childhood (CIC). Past studies have not investigated how this play relates to adult prodromal symptoms or how childhood adversity mediates the relationship. CIC play was examined in 278 participants, 18–24 years. CIC status predicted prodromal symptoms of hallucination only, whereas childhood adversity predicted all other symptoms. Mediation analysis found CIC’s relation to hallucination symptoms was partially mediated by childhood adversity. Findings fit with views that CIC are a positive childhood experience which may convert to a negative developmental trajectory through the impact of childhood adversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-152
Number of pages3
JournalPsychiatry Research
Early online date20 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


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