Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Holm


In this study, objective measures of self-esteem, satisfaction with life, trait anxiety, and schizotypal psychopathology were administered to 493 subjects representing the full range of fantasy proneness as determined by their scores on the Inventory of Childhood Memories and Imaginings (ICMI); in addition, subjects selected for high, medium, and low levels of fantasy proneness were administered measures of state anxiety and coping skills during a stressful laboratory condition. This was done in order to contribute to the construct validity of fantasy proneness and to provide empirical inquiry into the nature of fantasy proneness as a psychological coping strategy.

In replication of earlier research, elevated scores on the ICMI correlated with a greater incidence of childhood trauma, higher trait anxiety, and deeper involvement in schizotypal thinking and experiences. This finding is consistent with previous studies which indicated that a sizable minority of fantasy prone subjects exhibit serious psychopathology. Despite these findings, the ICMI failed to correlate significantly with measures of self-esteem or satisfaction with life, indicating that associated negative features of fantasy proneness do not preclude a healthy level of adjustment. High fantasizers did not differ from other subjects in their level of situational anxiety or their coping responses to a laboratory condition designed to elicit performance anxiety. However, high fantasizers did exceed the medium and low fantasizers in their self-reported use of fantasy and imagination as a coping device. Similarly, the high fantasizers were significantly more likely than their less fantasy prone counterparts to report that fantasy and imagination were very effective in helping them cope. However, the overall lack of significant differences in coping styles among high, medium, and low fantasizers lent credence to earlier reports that the majority of high fantasizers are relatively well-adjusted individuals. Within each of the three groups, heightened levels of anxiety were correlated with indices of distress and perceived lack of psychological resources needed to cope with the situation. There was inconclusive evidence that medium fantasizers were more adversely affected by heightened levels of situational anxiety than either high or low fantasizers.