Presentation Title

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

Location

Online - Session 6C

Start Date

4-21-2021 6:00 PM

Major Field of Study

Psychology

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor(s)

Ian Madfes, PhD

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Many children use comfort objects, from the beloved teddy bear to a soft blanket. A vast body of research examines children’s use of comfort objects as transitional objects when their primary caretaker is not present or when faced with stressful and unfamiliar 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. Going off to college signifies the true beginning of adulthood; it brings feelings of uncertainty. Those going off to school will have to adapt to a new environment while coping with the loss of home, family, and other relationships. Individuals have differing abilities to adapt to change and may differ in how they cope with the negative feelings from significant changes. Additionally, individuals differ in the levels of grief they feel from loss. The comfort object once again serves as a stress reducer by easing transition and keeping the individual connected with their past. It is hypothesized that college students who have a continued connection with their childhood comfort objects will be individuals who have greater difficulty both with adapting to new situations and adjusting to experiences of loss.

To test these two hypotheses, a sample of 150 college students who took their childhood comfort object with them to school will fill out a questionnaire that will measure two things: 1) how well they adapt to change, and 2) how well they adjust to experiences of loss. The hypotheses will be supported if levels of adaptability and adjustment to loss are low in those who took their comfort object with them to college.

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Apr 21st, 6:00 PM

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

Online - Session 6C

Many children use comfort objects, from the beloved teddy bear to a soft blanket. A vast body of research examines children’s use of comfort objects as transitional objects when their primary caretaker is not present or when faced with stressful and unfamiliar 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. Going off to college signifies the true beginning of adulthood; it brings feelings of uncertainty. Those going off to school will have to adapt to a new environment while coping with the loss of home, family, and other relationships. Individuals have differing abilities to adapt to change and may differ in how they cope with the negative feelings from significant changes. Additionally, individuals differ in the levels of grief they feel from loss. The comfort object once again serves as a stress reducer by easing transition and keeping the individual connected with their past. It is hypothesized that college students who have a continued connection with their childhood comfort objects will be individuals who have greater difficulty both with adapting to new situations and adjusting to experiences of loss.

To test these two hypotheses, a sample of 150 college students who took their childhood comfort object with them to school will fill out a questionnaire that will measure two things: 1) how well they adapt to change, and 2) how well they adjust to experiences of loss. The hypotheses will be supported if levels of adaptability and adjustment to loss are low in those who took their comfort object with them to college.