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Measuring Quality of Life in Owners of Companion Dogs: Development and Validation of a Dog Owner-specific Quality of Life Questionnaire

By Mark A. Oyama, Lindsey Citron, Justine Shults, Dorothy Cimino Brown, James A. Serpell, John T. Farrar

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

Numerous studies have examined the link between companiondog ownership and improved physical or psychological health outcomes; however, few have examined the association between dog ownership and owners’ overall wellbeing or quality of life (QOL). Moreover, the potential for dog ownership to adversely affect owner QOL has been largely ignored. In general, little is known regarding the specific aspects of QOL that are most affected by dog ownership, and there are no instruments specifically designed to assess the QOL of dog owners. If such a tool was available, these effects could be better quantified, understood, and potentially utilized to further improve owner QOL. The aim of the present study was to develop and validate a QOL questionnaire specifically suitable for use in dog owners. A literature review, focus-group activities, and expert content review were used to generate an item pool for the instrument. Both positive and negative effects of dog ownership on QOL were considered. Developmental and validation versions of a QOL instrument were tested using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, respectively. The validity and reliability of the QOL instrument were tested using goodness of fit indices and Cronbach’s alpha. The study produced the 10-item Dog Owner Quality Of Life Questionnaire (DOQOL) comprised of 3 different factors: emotional wellbeing, social and physical activities, and stress and responsibility of dog ownership. The factor structure had good fit and internal reliability. The DOQOL represents a suitable tool to measure QOL in dog owners, and future use could improve our understanding of the relationship between dog ownership and QOL.

Publication Title Anthrozoös
Volume 30
Issue 1
Pages 61-75
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2016.1228774
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Tags
  1. Human-animal bond
  2. Well-being