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'Half of children have imaginary friends,' says educational psychologist

Imaginary friends should not be a cause for concern, according to the educational psychologist Karen Majors. Writing on the BBC News website yesterday, Dr Majors addressed the myths that surround children who create their own companions.

Dr Majors found that rather than being a lonely, marginalised minority, those with a past or current imaginary friend represented 46 per cent of the 1,800 children who completed her questionnaire.

The research shows a range of people enjoy the company of an imaginary friend as part of normal development. Some sociable children invent another playmate, whereas children upset by something may use an imaginary friend to talk through the problem, or use play as a distraction. Older children tend to keep quiet about their friend.