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The Relationship Between Pet Attachment, Life Satisfaction, and Perceived Stress: Results from a South African Online Survey

By Marieanna C. le Roux, Simonne Wright

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

Pets are an important part of many pet owners’ lives, yet very little is known about this complex relationship within a South African context. Most of the research on pet attachment and pet ownership stems from developed countries such as the USA. The present study used an online survey to investigate whether pet attachment was related to perceived stress and life satisfaction in a sample of South Africans. Group differences in perceived stress and life satisfaction between pet owners and non-pet owners, between male and female pet owners, between White and Black pet owners, and between dog and cat owners were also explored. The survey was distributed via Facebook and electronic mail. It comprised of a demographic and pet ownership questionnaire, the Comfort from Companion Animal Scale (CCAS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). A total of 3,329 complete online responses were collected. The data were analyzed using Pearson’s correlations and independent t-tests. Results showed that pet attachment was not significantly related to pet owners’ perceived stress and life satisfaction. Female pet owners scored significantly higher on pet attachment than male pet owners, while White participants were significantly more attached to their pets than Black participants. Dog owners in this study were significantly more attached to their dogs, significantly more satisfied with their lives and had significantly less stress than cat owners. The results of the current study add to the body of knowledge on pet attachment, perceived stress, and life satisfaction in South Africa.

Publication Title Anthrozoös
Volume 33
Issue 3
Pages 371-385
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2020.1746525
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Tags
  1. Attachment
  2. Human-animal interactions
  3. Life experiences
  4. Pet owners.
  5. South Africa
  6. Stress