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Pet Loss and Human Bereavement: A Phenomenological Study of Attachment and the Grieving Process

By Michelle K Crossley

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Abstract

Through the analysis of a phenomenological research design, this study examined (a) the lived experiences of pet owners who have experienced the loss of a companion animal; (b) the similarities and differences of human animal attachment as described by a multicultural sample of grieving pet owners; and (c) the similarities and differences in how one‟s worldview shapes mourning over the death of a companion animal as described by a multicultural sample of grieving pet owners. This study used both Bowlby‟s Attachment Theory and Kübler-Ross‟ Model of Grief as the theoretical foundations and the data wasanalyzed utilizing Moustakas‟ inductive phenomenological analysis guidelines. The research draws on data gathered from 6 semi-structured interviews with grieving pet owners of varying multicultural backgrounds. Participants were gathered from the Northeast and Southeast regions of the United States. The six participants were chosen based on their experience of losing a companion animal due to death and multicultural factors and were between the ages of 36 and 50 or older.The findings suggest that the bonds guardians had with their companion animals to be true attachment bonds for the participants in this study. These bonds, as well as the grief responses after companion animal death, were found to be influenced by one‟s community; a positive support system aided in resolving grief and sharing information about the death to close others. The presence of the bond was also found to influence the grief response after death; without such bond the grief would simply not exist.

Submitter

Katie Carroll

Date 2013
Publisher North Carolina State University Libraries
Location of Publication Raleigh, North Carolina
Department Counseling and Counselor Education
Degree Doctor of Philosophy
URL http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/8451
Language English
University North Carolina State University
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Tags
  1. Animal roles
  2. Attachment
  3. Cats
  4. Dogs
  5. End of life
  6. Grief
  7. Horses
  8. Human-animal bond
  9. Mammals
  10. Pet loss
  11. Pet ownership
  12. Pets and companion animals
  13. Phenomenological Research
  14. Rodents