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Social Support and Wellbeing in Cat and Dog Owners and the Moderating Influence of Pet Owner Relationship Quality.pdf (1.68 MB)
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Social Support and Wellbeing in Cat and Dog Owners, and the Moderating Influence of Pet–Owner Relationship Quality

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-04-13, 07:37 authored by Salonika Hardie, Jimmy MaiJimmy Mai, Tiffani J Howell

Abstract: People have kept companion animals for millennia, a tradition thatimplies mutual benefits due to its persistence; however, scientificinvestigations present mixed results. Some research suggests petowners are less lonely than non-owners, but otherfindingssuggest pet owners have higher psychological distress. Researchcomparing   owners   with   non-owners   is   limited,   andmethodological inconsistencies need to be addressed. This studyinvestigated social support and wellbeing (positive functioning)in cat and dog owners, informed by social support theory,attachment, and social exchange theories. It was hypothesizedthat (1) pet support would predict wellbeing in addition tohuman support and (2) at least one aspect of pet–ownerrelationship quality would influence the relationship betweensocial support and wellbeing. An adult sample of 89 cat ownersand 149 dog owners (n= 238; 205 females and 33 males)completed  an  online  survey  comprising  a  demographicsquestionnaire, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived SocialSupport, the Cat/Dog–Owner Relationship Quality Scale, thePsychological Wellbeing Scale, and Satisfaction with Life Scale.Social  support  measures  included  some  demographics  ontheoretical grounds to measure the construct multidimensionally.Hierarchical and multiple regressions were conducted, and resultsindicated that both hypotheses were supported: having morepets significantly predicted greater psychological wellbeing inaddition to human social support. Unexpectedly, perceived petsupport significantly, positively predicted life satisfaction whenperceived emotional closeness with pet was low. Thesefindingsindicate that pets may improve psychological functioning andthat emotional closeness is an important moderating factor.Practical implications include the social benefits of pets for thosewho could benefit from greater psychological functioning andimproved life satisfaction.


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Informa UK Limited



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© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License(, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

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