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My best friend: a closer look at relationships with companion animals

By Margaret E. Oehler

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Abstract This study examines relationships with companion animals and how they compare to relationships with a close friend. Three relationship measures were used; social support, love and closeness and conflict and conflict resolution. A survey measuring these three relational aspects was distributed to faculty, staff and graduate students at the University of Maine and filled out in duplicate, once in reference to a companion animal and once in reference to a close friend. Results revealed that humans provide slightly more social support than companion animals, though companion animals provide complementary social support to humans. Love was measured to be almost identical for each relationship type, and relationships with companion animals were shown to be less conflicted. All in all, this study shows that though certain areas may differ, relationships with companion animals are comparable to relationships with a human friend.

Stephanie Schaffner

Location of Publication Orono, ME
Degree Masters of Science (MS)
Language English
University University of Maine
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Friendship
  3. Pets and companion animals