The main purpose of this study was to gain insight into the motivations for pet ownership in late adulthood using a life course approach. A qualitative research methodology based on deductive thematic analysis was applied to examine the accounts given by 21 pet owners living in Mexico: 14 women and seven men. Data were gathered through in-depth interviews. The motivation for pet ownership was found to be sensitive to situational circumstances involving life-stage transitions and role changes. Results indicate that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are associated with older adults’ willingness to share their lives with companion animals. However, extrinsic motivation plays an important role because pets provide instrumental value by helping older adults adapt to undesirable life changes. Thus, extrinsic motivations should be considered when developing interventions. Our findings also suggest that some social environments supplement sources of motivation for pet owners by providing financial and moral support, but that others do not support the owner–pet bond. Finally, the deteriorating health conditions characteristic of older adults was a demotivating factor to continue pet ownership.
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