In part of a larger pilot study of dog walking as a physical activity intervention we assessed levels of attachment, social supports, and perceived mental health of 75 dog owners, identified through a tertiary-care veterinary hospital. Owners completed the Medical Out-comes Study (MOS) Social Support Survey, mental health component of the Short-Form-12 (SF-12) Health Survey, and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS). Of particular interest was that younger owners had stronger attachments to their dogs (r = -.488; p < .001) and less social support (r = .269; p = .021). Our study suggests the importance of companion animals for social support, particularly for those without close friends/relatives. For younger owners, our study reveals vulnerabilities in support networks that may warrant referrals to human helping professionals. We suggest the use of Carstensen's Socioemotional Selectivity Theory as an interpretive framework to underscore the importance of including companion animals as part of the human social convoy, especially in terms of providing affectionate and interactional social support. http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/ehost/detail/detail?sid=c374820c-3d36-4ae1-902c-94b93b3a2462%40sessionmgr115&vid=0&hid=125&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHVybCxjb29raWUsdWlkJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=a9h&AN=92611550 An Examination of the Potential Role of Pet Ownership, Human Social Support and Pet Attachment in the Psychological Health of Individuals Living Alone.
While researchers have examined the relationship between pet ownership and psychological health among individuals in the general population, the few studies that have examined the possible psychological health benefits of pet ownership for individuals living alone have primarily been conducted among subgroups such as seniors. Using a community sample of adults who were living alone, we hypothesized that pet ownership (pet vs. no pet), emotional attachment levels to pets, and human social support would interact to predict scores on measures of loneliness and depression. A sample of 132 Canadian dog and cat owners as well as non-owners who lived alone completed an on-line survey containing measures of human social support, emotional attachment to pets, loneliness, and depression. Results revealed that neither pet ownership nor attachment to pets predicted the loneliness or depression levels of individuals living alone. However, when we examined the interaction of pet ownership and human social support in the prediction of psychological health, simple effects revealed that dog owners with high levels of human social support were significantly less lonely than non-owners. Furthermore, when we examined the interaction of attachment and human social support in the prediction of psychological health, simple effects revealed that among pet owners with low levels of human social support, high attachment to pets predicted significantly higher scores on loneliness and depression. These findings highlight the complex nature of the relationship between pet ownership and psychological health. http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/ehost/detail/detail?sid=8e01912d-ff17-4c9e-a2be-df8b095c7e39%40sessionmgr113&vid=0&hid=125&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHVybCxjb29raWUsdWlkJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=a9h&AN=49893453 Effects of Having Pets at Home on Children's Attitudes toward Popular and Unpopular Animals.
Having pets at home provides various social, health, and educational benefits to children. The question of how keeping pets at home affects the attitudes of children toward wild animals still has not been answered, due to various methodological issues, such as ignorance of some attitude dimensions and/or questionnaires that include items focused on very different animals. We conducted three independent