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See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 23, Issue 6

Owning Teddy Bears Does Not Reflect Immaturity

Owning stuffed animals as an adult says nothing about your mental health
teddy bears, adult with teddy bears, psychological maturity, maturity



JOERG STEFFENS Corbis

An adult who happens to own a robust collection of plush pals might make you uneasy. Past studies of adult psychiatric patients, after all, had found that owners of toy animals were more likely than others to have a personality disorder. Now you can relax, however: a study in the September 2012 Journal of Adult Development found no such link in a nonclinical sample of typical adults. The researchers used physiological and self-reported measures of emotion regulation, including tests of psychological immaturity.

Although “some people might automatically assume that an adult owning a toy animal is an indicator of the owner's immaturity,” explains lead author Stuart Brody, professor of psychology at the University of the West of Scotland, “there was no association of adult toy animal ownership with emotion regulation and maturity.”

So go ahead and leave the toy animals on your bed the next time you have guests—but you may want to keep a copy of this article nearby.

This article was originally published with the title "Keep the Teddy Bear."

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