Differences in boys’ and girls’ attachment to pets in early-mid adolescence

Janine C. Muldoon, Joanne M. Williams, Candace Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The precise nature of attachment to pets and differences between girls' and boys' relationships at age 11, 13 and 15¿years are investigated in this paper. Data from the 2010 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey in Scotland were used to examine various qualities of adolescents' attachments to their pet dogs, cats and small mammals. Survey participants (N¿=¿2472) answered pet ownership questions and completed the ‘Short Attachment to Pets Scale’ (SAPS). Multivariate analysis revealed main effects of age, sex and pet type, but no interaction effects. There is a pattern of weakening attachment to pets with increasing age, with emotional support qualities of attachment receiving higher ratings from girls, and stronger attachments evident with dogs. These findings enhance understanding of the role played by pets in the broader relational context of adolescents' lives, and help to identify how we might intervene to support adolescents experiencing socio-emotional difficulties or life disruptions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Volume62
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Pets
Dogs
Ownership
Health Behavior
Scotland
Mammals
Cats
Multivariate Analysis

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Age
  • Animals
  • Attachment
  • Children
  • Pets

Cite this

Muldoon, J. C., Williams, J. M., & Currie, C. (2019). Differences in boys’ and girls’ attachment to pets in early-mid adolescence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 62, 50-58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2018.12.002
Muldoon, Janine C. ; Williams, Joanne M. ; Currie, Candace. / Differences in boys’ and girls’ attachment to pets in early-mid adolescence. In: Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. 2019 ; Vol. 62. pp. 50-58.
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Muldoon, JC, Williams, JM & Currie, C 2019, 'Differences in boys’ and girls’ attachment to pets in early-mid adolescence', Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, vol. 62, pp. 50-58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2018.12.002

Differences in boys’ and girls’ attachment to pets in early-mid adolescence. / Muldoon, Janine C.; Williams, Joanne M.; Currie, Candace.

In: Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. 62, 25.01.2019, p. 50-58.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Differences in boys’ and girls’ attachment to pets in early-mid adolescence

AU - Muldoon, Janine C.

AU - Williams, Joanne M.

AU - Currie, Candace

N1 - This work was supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [grant numbers AW1404 and AW1407]. Obtain acceptance date and AAM - ET 8/4/19 Acceptance from webpage. Author not at GCU at time of pub. ET 11/11/19

PY - 2019/1/25

Y1 - 2019/1/25

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AB - The precise nature of attachment to pets and differences between girls' and boys' relationships at age 11, 13 and 15¿years are investigated in this paper. Data from the 2010 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey in Scotland were used to examine various qualities of adolescents' attachments to their pet dogs, cats and small mammals. Survey participants (N¿=¿2472) answered pet ownership questions and completed the ‘Short Attachment to Pets Scale’ (SAPS). Multivariate analysis revealed main effects of age, sex and pet type, but no interaction effects. There is a pattern of weakening attachment to pets with increasing age, with emotional support qualities of attachment receiving higher ratings from girls, and stronger attachments evident with dogs. These findings enhance understanding of the role played by pets in the broader relational context of adolescents' lives, and help to identify how we might intervene to support adolescents experiencing socio-emotional difficulties or life disruptions.

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Muldoon JC, Williams JM, Currie C. Differences in boys’ and girls’ attachment to pets in early-mid adolescence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. 2019 Jan 25;62:50-58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2018.12.002