Year of Publication


Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)



First Advisor

Dr. Gabriel J. Ybarra

Second Advisor

Dr. Randall J. Russac


Because a child's first day of school can be anxiety provoking, familiar soothing inanimate objects, such as blankets, might help to minimize discomfort related to this novel situation. The current study examined the anxiety level of twenty-six one- to four-year-old children and their mothers at three times 1) before the first day of school, 2) during separation from their mother on the first day of school, and 3) after home from their first day of school. Maternal report was used to assess child and mother anxiety levels (Likert scale 0- 10) and child level of attachment to a familiar inanimate object. No differences in anxiety levels were found among attached children who brought their attachment object with them on their first day of school, attached children without their objects, and unattached children with or without a familiar object. Children's anxiety did differ among the assessment times, verifying that separation from their mothers on first day of school is a low arousal situation. Mother's anxiety was not positively related to children's anxiety. Future studies might further explore an observed trend of children attached to inanimate objects displaying less anxiety than their unattached counterparts across school-related transitions.

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Psychology Commons