Relationship of Personality Traits and the Continued Use of Childhood Comfort Objects by College Students

Ashlyn Allan and Dr. Ian Madfes, Department of Psychology, Dominican University of California, 50 Acacia Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901

Many children use comfort objects. Research examines children’s use of comfort objects when their primary caretaker is not present or when faced with stressful situations such as life transitions. Children who feel particularly challenged by life transitions are more likely to have a continued connection with their comfort objects throughout adolescence. If there are adolescents who still have their childhood comfort objects, then it is logical that this may continue into even later stages of life.

If comfort objects benefit both young children and adolescents, then it is reasonable to speculate that adults might also find them useful during especially stressful times. One of the first significant life transitions for many individuals is leaving home to attend college which signifies the true beginning of adulthood. College students will have to adapt to a new environment while coping with the loss of home and relationships. Individuals have differing abilities to adapt to change and may differ in how they adjust to experiences of loss. Once again, the comfort object can serve as a stress reducer.

It is hypothesized that college students who took their childhood comfort object to school will have greater difficulty adapting to new situations and adjusting to experiences of loss than those who did not take theirs with them. A sample of 100 college students will be used to test the two hypotheses; students who took their childhood comfort object to school will be compared to those who did not on measures of 1) how well they adapt to change, and 2) how well they adjust to experiences of loss. Each of the two hypotheses will be supported, respectively, if the mean score on the 1) Adaptability Scale or 2) Adjustment to Loss Scale is lower for those who took their comfort object with them to college. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Ashlyn Allan

Institution: Dominican University of California

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 10
Date/Time: Wed 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 6623