ST. LOUIS — Though many might never admit it publicly, a new survey finds that four in ten adult Americans still sleep with a teddy bear at night. And many of those bears are the same bears kept from childhood.
The popular custom teddy bear outlet Build-A-Bear Workshop commissioned a new survey with over 2,000 Americans to gauge their views on their furry friends, and came away with some surprising findings.
More than half of the survey participants indicated they currently owned a stuffed animal, and 40 percent indicated the toy joins them at bedtime. Perhaps most surprisingly, most of the plush toys out there are no spring chickens — 56 percent of those polled said that they’ve held onto their favorite stuffed animal from childhood for at least two decades.
This perhaps is a reflection of the fact that 72 percent of respondents want to keep their stuffed animal forever.
As for the feelings and emotions associated with one’s stuffed animal, 30 percent said that they thought of comfort, 22 percent thought of the person who gave them the toy, and 19 percent thought about the appearance of their most dear animal.
Geography played a minor role in determining one’s likelihood of having a plush animal, with 75 percent of adults in the southern U.S. owning such a toy, compared to 72 percent of those in the midwest and 70 percent of those in northeastern states.
“As children develop independence from their parents, they still yearn for a secure bond with something. In many cases, children turned to stuffed animals, including teddy bears, to help them through this transition,” says best-selling author Dr. Shefali Tsabary of the survey’s findings in a press release.
“As we enter adulthood and leave home for the first time, it’s not surprise that the same object re-enters our life, providing comfort while also helping us work through feelings of uncertainty as we transition into a new life stage,” adds Tsabary.
The survey, conducted in August ahead of National Teddy Bear Day (Sept. 9), was carried out by a third-party firm on behalf of Build-A-Bear.
About a quarter of respondents had children between the ages of five and 10.