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Attachment styles impact on pet visitation effectiveness

By Patrcia M. Colby, Angela Sherman

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Examined the effects of attachment style (secure, anxious-ambivalent, dismissive avoidant, or fearful avoidant) on the subjective well-being of institutionalized older adults participating in a dog visitation program. The participants were 52 residents of an assisted living facility, aged 58-98 (mean age 76), who completed questionnaires that assessed attachment style and mood. Participants were also asked whether they had owned pets before being admitted to the assisted living facility. It was found that the secure style related to increases in positive mood after interacting with the dogs. The anxious-ambivalent style related to increases in positive mood and decreases in ratings of depression. Most important, the fearful-avoidant style related to increases in depression after interacting with the dogs. The results highlight the notion that not all participants benefit from pet visitation programs. Theoretically, the findings present preliminary evidence for the relevance of attachment styles in understanding human-pet interactions. (AS) (AgeLine Database, copyright 2004 EBSCO Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved)

Date 2002
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 15
Issue 2
Pages 150-165
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Language English
Author Address Skidmore College, Department of Psychology, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Ambivalence
  2. Anxiety
  3. Assisted living facilities
  4. Depression
  5. Emotions
  6. Fear
  7. Institutionalized populations
  8. Long-term care facilities
  9. Middle Aged Adults
  10. moods
  11. Older adults
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Pets and companion animals
  14. Pet therapy
  15. psychological well-being
  16. social interactions
  17. United States of America
  18. visitors
  1. peer-reviewed