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The elderly's adjustment to the loss of a companion animal: People–pet dependency

By Cyrus S. Stewart, John C. Thrush, George S. Paulus, Patrick Hafner

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Abstract

A survey of 220 elderly persons, aged 55+ yrs, showed that pet ownership varied inversely with age, the size of Ss' friendship networks, and the number and perceived importance of social contacts. Pet owners as well as nonowners tended to characterize the relationship between the elderly and their pets in terms of dependence and attachment and to believe that the death of a pet could produce adjustment problems for the elderly. The adjustment difficulties experienced by an elderly person whose pet has died is discussed in relation to the sense of security provided by the pet, the reorientation of attachment needs onto the pet, and the unavailability of mourning rituals to work through the grief process associated with the loss of a pet. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

Publication Title Death Studies
Volume 9
Issue 5-6
Pages 383-393
ISBN/ISSN 0748-11871091-7683
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/07481188508252532
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Tags
  1. Adjustment
  2. Attachment
  3. Attachment behavior
  4. Death
  5. Emotions
  6. Grief
  7. Older adults
  8. peer-reviewed
  9. Pet loss
  10. Pet ownership
  11. Pets and companion animals
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed