Whispers in the ear: preschool children's conceptualisation of secrets and confidants

Kimberly Corson, Malinda J. Colwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In this qualitative study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with three- to five-year olds (n = 17) in a university-sponsored preschool programme. Analyses using interpretive phenomenology indicated that preschool children view secrets with a sense of intimacy, and they reserve disclosure for a particular person, usually their best friend. There is a sense of ownership surrounding secrets for preschool children, and hence, secrets are regarded as something special to them. Furthermore, secrets are described as something that gives preschool children happiness and are often associated with games or pretend play. Finally, the analysis addresses children's secret hiding places and the types of concepts preschool children consider as a secret.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1215-1228
Number of pages14
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics


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